By Neville Chamunorwa
Microsoft has been working hard to position MS-Teams as one of the go-to tools for communication of late. The following article takes a look at what MS-Teams is, how it works, and the many benefits it can provide to companies that operate in the construction industry.
What is MS-Teams?
MS-Teams is Microsoft’s answer to Slack and other messaging apps designed for business. It’s not just a messaging app, however. The platform focuses heavily on content sharing and collaboration while offering integrations with a wide range of existing apps. That’s not to say it forgets its roots as a communications tool as users can stay connected with one another in a variety of ways.
Below are some of the many ways construction firms can benefit from using MS-Teams.
Office 365 Integration
For companies already using Office 365, they will find that MS-Teams is fully integrated. From Word and Excel to OneNote and SharePoint, interaction is seamless. Files, emails, and calendars can all be shared between businesses and adding users is a simple process. MS-Teams is kept constantly up-to-date too, meaning everyone has access to the latest information in real-time.
As with most communications tools, one of MS-Teams’ main strengths is its integration capability. Rather than having to access each app individually, firms can use the app inside Teams. Whether it’s video calling with a sub-contractor on Zoom, using Freehand to create visual layouts, or managing construction projects with Wrike, MS-Teams can support it.
Organize Information Into Channels
Users of MS-Teams can organize discussions and document-sharing into channels. This compartmentalization prevents inboxes from being submerged by a deluge of communications on various subjects. Each channel focuses on a specific topic, project or team and only discussions and documentation relating to it are posted there. This keeps team members from getting overwhelmed or distracted by irrelevant communications.
MS-Teams allows for document collaboration in real-time. As such, workers based in different locations can collaboratively update or edit a document in One Drive without ever leaving the MS-Teams platform. Documents can also be pinned in a channel or workspace to be viewed by other users in real-time for ease of reference.
Voice and Video Calling
Whether in the office or on-site, users of MS-Teams can make high-quality calls through a headset or built-in audio on a range of mobile and desktop devices. Video conferences are also a popular feature and allow screen-sharing and document collaboration. This is particularly useful when team members are on-site and need to discuss or revise construction documents with colleagues who are not present.
The Chat and Activity sections of MS-Teams allow users to view mentions and messages from other users. Notifications for these communications ensure that important information is not missed while keeping email inboxes free of clutter. Utilizing mentions enables attention to be drawn to activities, tasks or projects that might otherwise have been overlooked by the person concerned.
Access On The Go
MS-Teams is available on mobile devices, allowing for 24/7 access regardless of location. With construction being an industry that has a high number of workers on the move, this is especially useful. Whether employees are on-site, in the office, or traveling between locations, they can maximize efficiency by keeping in touch with colleagues, clients, and subcontractors via MS-Teams.
Time & Attendance Tracking
Time tracking integrations can be utilized with MS-Teams to accurately track the attendance and working hours of employees. While this is a useful function for many companies, it is particularly helpful for those in the field of construction. Due to the nature of the industry – a large number of workers dispersed across multiple locations – staying on top of time and attendance can understandably be a difficult business. With MS-Teams integrations, however, it becomes a streamlined process.
MS-Teams for Companies In Construction
MS-Teams is an invaluable tool for businesses working on time-sensitive projects and need to maximize efficiency. It is packed with many useful features that facilitate the end-to-end project management process. Through seamless integration with various apps, document collaboration and time & attendance tracking among many other benefits it is easy to see why a growing number of companies in the construction industry are turning to MS-Teams as their tool of choice.