In the seven years since Microsoft released Office 365, the cloud-based suite has become the most utilized collaborative platform on the market, with more than 50 million active business users per month. And for good reason. The overall boost in productivity businesses have received can be directly attributed to the toolkit’s cloud-based apps, online storage, and incredible user experience.
More Than Email
Think Microsoft Office and email immediately springs to mind, as do spreadsheets, calendars, and documents. All these tools make organizations run smoothly, but as the workplace and workday have changed so, too, has the way businesses run. The cubicle has given way to a global, mobile, and remote work environment that demands solutions provide more than the basics.
From simplifying communication to easing collaboration and cloud-based storage, here are just a few other tools employees can take advantage of in Microsoft’s Office 365 as they make their way towards becoming more productive.
It claims to “take the chaos out of teamwork” and delivers nicely. Microsoft Planner is a user- friendly organizer and team-based task management tool that has plenty of bells and whistles that make it far more productive than Outlook tasks. You can use it to create, assign, and reassign tasks. You can also attach group files and track progress with status updates and comments. The four latest features, schedule view, group and filter options, due date notifications, and iCalendar format feed help employees meet deadlines, plan ahead, receive email notifications, and make better scheduling and time management decisions.
Pulling together many of the collaborative tools of Office 365 into one convenient app, Microsoft Teams provides a hub where multiple people can work around content. The feature provides a way for employees to communicate through chats and online meetings both in and outside the organization. You can also access third-party tools like Adobe Creative Cloud, SurveyMonkey, GitHub, and Zendesk and pull data into a central location where team members can collaborate on related content.
Automated workflows, or flows, are easy to create using this cloud-based solution which lets a computer handle boring and repetitive tasks. If you’re familiar with IFTTT, Microsoft Flow works in a similar way. To make things even simpler for users, Microsoft has created numerous templates designed for specific situations as well as connectors, which are links between Flow and an outside application. Examples that employees can choose from include:
- Save tweets to SharePoint that include a specific hashtag.
- Share new Instagram photos to Twitter.
- Update the SharePoint list when a survey response is received.
And so on.
Finally, Microsoft MyAnalytics has recently been expanded to all Office 365 users. This tool’s personalized dashboard provides you with a summary of how employees are spending their time. You can track things like time spent on emails, how often an employee collaborates with other team members, and how many meetings are attended each week. The two main goals are to analyze where improvements can be made in unproductive areas and to help users avoid job burnout and instead make their workdays more balanced and fulfilling.
The Name of the Game: Collaboration
The modern workforce sees people working from home, in the office, at remote locations, and from their mobile devices. Teams are also often scattered across the city, throughout the country, and around the world. Collaboration is and always has been the key to employee productivity. With its wealth of cloud-enabled tools, Microsoft’s Office 365 allows users to concentrate on the creative and innovative side of business without worrying how to stay plugged in while doing it.