5 Microsoft Teams Tips and Tricks Every Administrator Should Know in 2022

January 19, 2022 by Alexa Uskova • 14 min read • Microsoft Teams

5 Microsoft Teams Tips and Tricks Every Administrator Should Know in 2022

Let’s get straight to the point—Microsoft Teams is an amazing tool for organizing your workflow and communicating with your team remotely. However, it’s so full of features that it’s easy to waste precious productivity time just trying to learn how to use the MS Teams interface.

That’s why we compiled a list of essential features that will help you customize a Microsoft Teams environment that fits your needs and vision as an administrator, without sacrificing your employees’ creative flow and teamwork.

Note: In this article we are assuming that you have an admin account in Microsoft Teams, not just a member or guest account.

This post is brought to you by Perfect Wiki, a tool that helps you create a database of your company resources right in Microsoft Teams. Try us out for FREE today, no sign-in or credit card required.

1. Using the Admin Center: Make Your Microsoft Teams Workspace Work for YOU

To kick off the article, we’d like to introduce you to your headquarters - the Microsoft Teams Admin Center. This is your central administrative hub where you can customize your MS Teams workspace and monitor user activity.

To get to the Microsoft Teams Admin Center, open your browser and go to https://admin.microsoft.com. Enter your admin credentials (they are the same as your login and password for Microsoft Teams), and you’ll find yourself in the Microsoft 365 Admin Center.

The Microsoft Teams Admin Center has its own workspace—scroll down to “Admin centers” and hit “Teams”.

MS Teams Admin Center

From the MS Teams Admin Center, you can control everything that goes on in your MS Teams workspace, including, but not limited to:

  • Tracking user activity (yep, you can see if that scheduled meeting actually happened!)
  • Customizing member and guest permissions (more on how to do that in our next tip)
  • Assigning specialized roles to team members
  • Changing team policies for teams and channels, messages, meetings, and apps
  • Creating and using team templates

A full Microsoft Teams Admin Center guide could be a blog post of its own, but we want to draw your attention to 2 handy features: tracking user activity and using team templates.

A Teams activity report will show you how many hours users spend in Teams and channels, how many messages and replies were sent, and how many meetings were scheduled and conducted (and how long they lasted).

Here’s how to get your activity report:

  1. Go to the Microsoft Teams Admin Center https://admin.teams.microsoft.com
  2. Scroll down on the left menu to “Analytics & reports” > “Usage reports”
  3. In “Report” at the top, choose “Teams user activity” and choose your date range (from the last 7, 30, or 90 days)
  4. Hit “Run report” and you will get a web version of the graph, as well as the option to download the report for your records.
MS Teams Activity Report

So if you’re suspecting that your users might be wasting time on meetings that could have been a quick text, take a glance at the activity report!

Note: This report shows you data for the WHOLE company, not individual user stats.

Among all the other amazing features, team templates is where we want to grab your attention.

Let’s say you are an administrator at a bank branch, and you want all your teams to adhere to your company’s HR regulations and security policies. You will probably also need a predetermined set of third-party apps in each team, so that all your groups are on the same page.

Enter team templates. Team templates is an easy-to-miss feature that actually lets you create your own reusable team formats that include:

  • A description of the team’s purpose
  • A set of channels
  • Pre-installed apps and channel tabs (more on how to use apps in MS Teams in our fifth tip!).
MS Teams - Teams Templates

Find the “Team templates” window under the “Teams” dropdown menu in the Teams Admin Center. From here, you can either create your own template from scratch or use one of Microsoft Teams’ many ready-to-use templates (they have a host of options from “Incident Response” to “Managing a Store”).

Templates are simply the best way to organize your workspace without having to overthink the structure and waste precious time. That’s why Perfect Wiki offers you FREE ready-to-use templates for your team’s shared documents such as company best practices, competitor analysis, and even media kits. Download them now and use them in any collaborative document (SharePoint, Google Docs, etc.).

2. Changing Restrictions and Permissions: Separate Owner, Members, and Guest Capabilities

Now let’s see what you as an admin can do right from the Teams workspace, without having to navigate the Admin Center in your browser.

Specifically, we’ll look at how you can manage what your team members and guest users can and can’t do.

Table. Microsoft Teams Permissions: What Owners, Members, and Guest Users Can Do
Default SettingsAdminMemberGuest
Access to Admin Center
Create new teams
Archive channels
Create/Delete channels
Add users to channels
Moderate channels
Change member and guest user permissions
Create private channels
Participate in a private channel
Create new posts
Add new tabs to channels
Start and schedule meetings
Note: The capabilities in the table above are the DEFAULT settings.

As an MS Teams admin, you have more capabilities than regular members and guest users, but regular members (a.k.a. your employees) are not too far behind in what they can do. They can even add users, create and delete channels at will.

And that’s great if you’re a company that values employee freedom and self-directedness, but if you need to adhere to strict company policies, you may want to edit who can make changes to your MS Teams interface.

You can do this from your Microsoft Teams workspace for each team separately, here’s how:

  1. Find the ellipses dropdown menu next to your team of choice and hit “Manage team”
  2. In “Settings”, scroll down to “Member permissions” and make changes to the capabilities you want to restrict (from creating channels to allowing message editing)
MS Teams - Teams Permissions

The changes you make from this menu will apply to ALL the channels in the team. If you want to tweak the permissions settings for just one channel, simply go to that channel’s “More options” menu > “Manage channel”.

Note: You can also restrict guest user permissions in the same “Settings” menu by scrolling down past “Member permissions”.

If you want to add an owner to a team so they have the same permissions you do, follow these steps:

  1. Find the ellipses dropdown menu next to your team of choice and hit “Manage team”
  2. In “Members”, find the person you want to promote and change their status from “Member” to “Owner”
  3. The changes will save automatically!
MS Teams - Change Teams Permissions

Any person who holds an “Owner” status in a team can access the “Member permissions” menu, add and remove members, and control who can make posts in the Posts tab of the team’s channels.

3. Starting and Scheduling MS Teams Meetings: Become a Pro at Remote Collaboration

Execs, meet your new favourite video call service—Microsoft Teams meetings. If you and your team are already using MS Teams consistently, you need to take advantage of the simplicity and efficiency that Meetings provide.

You can start and schedule virtual meetings right in any of the team’s channels. Find the “Meet” button in the top left corner and choose between starting a meeting right away or scheduling one for later.

MS Teams - Start and schedule meetings

When you click “Meet now”, a notice will be posted in the channel’s chat. Your team members won’t automatically join the meeting, so you will have to either:

  • send them the meeting link by clicking “Share invite” in the left meeting window, or
  • Type their name as it appears in Microsoft Teams into the “Type a name” box in the left meeting window and hit “Request to join”.

To schedule a future meeting, go to “Schedule a meeting,” and you will be redirected to a “Details” window where you can edit the meeting time, add required attendees, and even attach an agenda that will be sent out to everyone in the channel.

MS Teams - Meeting details
Note: Meetings in private channels can only be conducted with members of that channel).

Oh yeah, did we mention you can invite external users to your Microsoft Teams calls? All you have to do is share the meeting link with them, and you can do this for impromptu or scheduled meetings:

  • For a meeting that has already started, hit “Share invite” > “Copy meeting link”
  • For a future scheduled meeting, hit the Calendar banner that pops up in your channel’s chat and click “Copy link” in the top toolbar.
MS Teams - Share link to a meeting
Pro tip: You can open your channel’s Posts tab right in a meeting by hitting “Show conversation”. The whole conversation history will carry over, and you can even use your message extensions in the meeting!

Is there someone on your team who couldn’t make it to an important meeting? Fret not, you can record any meeting in Microsoft Teams by going to the “More actions” ellipses in the meeting’s top toolbar and hitting “Start recording”. Once the meeting is over, the recording will be saved to that channel’s SharePoint folder and can be viewed by anyone who missed the meeting.

4. Using Private Channels: Get Security and Peace of Mind for Your Sensitive Information

Here’s a typical situation: you have a team in Microsoft Teams that’s working on a large project with the client as a guest user, and you want to discuss budgets and invoices in a secure conversation with your employees before rolling out the numbers to your client.

Instead of making a separate group chat, keep it all in that same team by creating a private channel.

MS Teams - Using Private Channels

Private channels are channels you or your team members can create that only include people you select, and are invisible to other members of the team. Any files you share are stored in a separate (also private) SharePoint folder, and excluded team members won’t see your channel conversations or meetings.

You can set up a private channel right from your Microsoft Teams interface:

  1. Select the team where you want your private channel
  2. Hit “Add channel” in the dropdown menu next to the team name
  3. In “Privacy”, choose “Private”
  4. Hit “Add” and the private channel will appear in the channel list with a lock symbol next to it.
MS Teams - Set-up Private Channel

A few more scenarios where you might need a private channel:

  • You need to discuss a project budget with only the accountants on the team
  • You want a space for internal team members to communicate without external guest users such as clients or contractors
  • You want to keep confidential employee information (like pay grades or promotion tracks) accessible to a small number of people, and you want them to have a private space to discuss and meet virtually.

By default anyone in the team can create a private channel, so if you want to limit who can create private channels, go to the Admin Center https://admin.teams.microsoft.com and do the following:

  1. Log in with your admin credentials
  2. Go to “Teams” > “Manage Teams”
  3. Choose the team you want to edit, go to “Settings” > “Edit” in the top right corner
  4. Scroll down to “Member permissions” > flip the switch on “Add and edit private channels”
  5. Hit “Apply” and you’re done!
MS Teams - Edit Private Channel Settings

Once you make a private channel, it will always be private. Just like standard channels—you can’t make a standard channel private once it’s up and running.

Note: You can create up to 30 private channels in a team.

To get the FULL scoop on everything you can do with Microsoft Teams channels, read our comprehensive guide.

And hey, did you know you can add Perfect Wiki as a tab to private channels too? Check out how Perfect Wiki’s powerful productivity features can help you create a shared knowledge base with your team here.

5. Adding Apps and Tabs: Bring Your External Apps into Microsoft Teams

We’re certain you have a host of apps that you use daily besides Microsoft Teams. With so many companies adapting to fully remote work, you’ve probably installed an app for every task you usually just get done in an office setting (think brainstorming, task management, calendars). Wouldn’t it be great if you could add those apps to your MS Teams workspace and forget about constantly switching between apps?

Well, you’re in luck. Microsoft Teams lets you integrate your third-party apps into your team channels as tabs, as well as use any of the hundreds of Microsoft 365 productivity apps.

Apps for MS Teams

These might be:

  • Productivity apps (e.g. Lists or Calendar)
  • Web-based storage (e.g. Adobe Creative Cloud)
  • Files or documents (read on to see how you can make them a separate tab)
  • Websites
  • Collaboration tools (e.g. Lucidchart).

We’ll run you through the process of adding apps and websites to a selected channel.

To add an app to a channel:

  1. Hit the “+” sign at the top next to the default tabs in the channel
  2. Select the app you want to add from the listed ones, or go to “More apps” at the top to search the entire MS Teams database
  3. If it’s a third party app, you and your team members will need to log in before you can use it together
  4. If it’s a Microsoft 365 app (e.g. Calendar), it will automatically become a tab next to the default ones.
Add App to MS Teams

To add a frequently used website to a channel:

  1. Hit the “+” sign at the top next to the default tabs in the channel
  2. Find the pink “Website” icon in the list of apps
  3. Name the tab so it’s recognizable to your team, and enter its URL
  4. Hit “Save” and the website should load within seconds!
Add Website as a tab to MS Teams

Websites added as tabs to a channel update any time you enter the tab, so you and your employees can stay updated on news in your field from a source you trust. No need to send links to your teams multiple times a day—just refer them to the website tab!

Add Website as a tab to MS Teams

There’s so much more to explore in Microsoft Teams, but these quick tips will give you some fundamental tools you need to organize your virtual space just the way you need it. We hope you found a feature that will make your remote collaboration and company management a bit easier this year.

Perfect Wiki is all about making your remote collaboration easier while not sacrificing your team members’ creativity. Our Microsoft Teams-native app is designed to give you a space to create a shared knowledge base with your team, where you can compile your company’s best practices, policies, and marketing strategies (to name just a few!).

Our app is FREE to install (no credit card required), comes with ready-to-use templates, and has a host of carefully crafted features that will save you time and make content creation a joy instead of a burden.

Add Perfect Wiki to your teams now, and in less than a minute you will have a new favourite way to create essential company documents.

Learned something new from this article? Looking for more Microsoft Teams tips? Either way, let us know in the “Comments” section below, and share this post with a fellow administrators or your audience on social media!

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