Teams is where you can collaborate across projects in real-time, while Workplace is for the entire company and its culture to come together.
Organisations require both forms of conversation to be successful.
Thomas Bugler from Azuronaut explains why Microsoft and Workplace are Better Together.
Both Microsoft Teams and Workplace from Facebook have undergone a huge transformation over the last few months, let alone the last few years. The impact of Covid-19 on global workplaces has resulted in roadmaps being accelerated, and features and functionality added to reinforce and support a newfound importance to “Work from Anywhere”.
At Azuronaut, we started a new digital event series back in the summer called “Microsoft and Workplace: Better Together”. This was in response to many queries from our clients about how the two platforms could work alongside each other. Some assumed that one made the other redundant, others believed that having two so ‘similar’ platforms would result in duplication of information, or confusion at a time where organisations recognised the importance of clear, meaningful communication.
So we’re here to answer the question – why you should be using them both, together. For after all, they have two distinct roles to play for any organisation. And once you see this first-hand, you’ll never go back.
Teams is the hub for collaboration
From March 12th to March 21st 2020, 560m minutes of Teams meetings per day skyrocketed to 2.7bn minutes. The number of organisations seeking to understand and work with Microsoft Teams better since lockdown and working from anywhere became commonplace has been huge.
Teams should be your hub for collaboration, and ‘team’ work!
It is fully integrated with Office 365, which means that it already sits as part of your Microsoft Suite, so it makes sense to leverage what is there already, and also the other useful tools within Microsoft – SharePoint and OneNote to name two. The fact that Teams is fully synced with these additional platforms means your working will be streamlined and more effective.
Collaboration is made much more effective with one centralised hub for project working. You can create specific project or function Teams, and channels within these can be used to oversee different parts of the whole team effort. For example, we’ve seen our marketing team benefit from channels which they can personalise and invite specific people to collaborate on – from a website team, to event teams and an area to collaborate with Sales.
Everyone can work on content together, in real-time, thanks to the Office 365 integration. Once you’re finished with a document, the knowledge management aspect is also taken care of, to ensure simple sharing and an easy path to find the documents you need, when you need them.
In the age of the video call, Microsoft Teams again comes to the fore, with crystal clear calling and live collaboration, whether you’re having a one-to-one with your manager, or soon a company all-hands for up to 20,000 people.
Making sure you fully utilise the benefits of Teams is vital if you want to provide your people with a quick, simple way to seamlessly collaborate.
Workplace is where your people and culture come together
Workplace too has seen a similar increase in users, and recently passed the five million customers mark. But the question we’re asked is, how can it work alongside Teams?
As we said earlier, defining the role is important for success – and whilst Teams is the hub for collaboration, Workplace is truly where your people and culture come together.
It fills the missing piece on how an organisation communicates more broadly, how to connect people to form those tangible workplace relationships – engagement and belonging amongst their colleagues and the work they do.
In organisations of any size, but particularly those on the enterprise scale, or those with large frontline workforces, Workplace is where your entire company can come together. It is a dedicated and secure space for people in companies to connect, communicate and engage.
Workplace is part of the Facebook family, which means companies can take advantage of familiar features like News Feeds, Groups and Tagging to keep people engaged. So just imagine Workplace as being your private and secure Facebook instance at work.
You don’t have to be a serial commenter to gain the benefits from a variety of Workplace activities – from Town Halls, Employee Resource Groups (like LGBTQ) and info on company benefits.
We’re so used to using mobile-first platforms to communicate – from Twitter, Instagram and Facebook – and Workplace is helping bring corporate communications to a place where they are more easy and engaging, including on mobile, which results in higher adoption rates and engagement for those all-important comms.
It is this mobile-first approach which has driven the platform’s success for what we like to call “Outer Loop” communication, that is sharing information widely across your organisation, connecting with people outside your direct teams and day-to-day work, and breaking down silos across the business. We know that Workplace usage varies from individual too, and here even those more passive users can consume valuable content relevant for the whole company. You don’t have to be a serial commenter to gain the benefits from a variety of Workplace activities – from Town Halls, Employee Resource Groups (like LGBTQ) and info on company benefits.
Meanwhile, bottom-up feedback from your entire team means that the finger is on the pulse for the right information at the right time. This challenging period has seen a variety of groups spring up to boost morale – company pets, karaoke and quizzes just some of the way Workplace has come into its own during 2020.
How to best use Microsoft and Workplace together
When approaching using Microsoft and Workplace together, Samira Khalifa, Head of Client Partnerships at Azuronaut has a solid idea of where to start.
“If you are embarking on the journey of using Workplace and Teams in tandem, there are some really important pieces to cover to make sure that these two tools can coexist together successfully”, begins Samira.
Clear usage definitions
“An important place to start is devising clear usage definitions for each tool – defining the purpose and audience of each tool – you might have to do some research – interviews, surveys, data analysis to really understand what your company and different employee populations want to use, and what their digital tool requirements are. It’s important to engage with stakeholders from across the business because these days there’s no one function really “owns” digital tools anymore. You should be engaging with IT, HR and Comms to create consensus around what your internal digital strategy will look like.
Communicate your strategy
The second important point is that you need to very clearly communicate your digital strategy that you’ve defined to your employees, with role and function-specific guidance on how to use and make the most of the tools available to them. Don’t assume that everyone will or should use digital tools in the exact same way. Different functions and roles have different ways of working, so giving guidance on how Teams or how Workplace will add value to their work is crucial. They should not be seen as “just another ‘thing,’ an extra thing, they have to do.”
To make the case for using these tools even more powerful, tie them to your overall business goals, whether agility, unity or innovation through knowledge sharing. Give people real reasons to use these tools.
“To make the case for using these tools even more powerful, tie them to your employee engagement goals, or better yet, your overall business goals, whether agility, unity or innovation through knowledge sharing. Give people real reasons to use these tools.
Bespoke and accessible training
And finally, providing training – bespoke and accessible training to your employees on both new and old tools is important. Not only are you giving them the ability to use these tools better, but you can also use these trainings as an opportunity to get people to promote the broader goals for that tool. For Workplace, you wouldn’t just train them on the functionality you’d explain the importance of cross-functional knowledge sharing and engaging with the broader employee community. On Teams, you’d remind them of the need to make collaboration more streamlined and agile. Trainings are also a great way to do some “user research” get feedback, and understand the pain-points that employees are facing so you can work to address them better.
We at Azuronaut support our clients across all these areas, devising and implementing digital strategies, training and support. Get in touch with the team to learn more about how we can help your organisation to be more connected and empowered.”