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.
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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”.
From the MS Teams Admin Center, you can control everything that goes on in your MS Teams workspace, including, but not limited to:
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:
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!
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:
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.).
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.
|Access to Admin Center||✅||❌||❌|
|Create new teams||✅||✅||❌|
|Add users to 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||✅||✅||❌|
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:
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”.
If you want to add an owner to a team so they have the same permissions you do, follow these steps:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
A few more scenarios where you might need a private channel:
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:
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.
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.
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.
These might be:
We’ll run you through the process of adding apps and websites to a selected channel.
To add an app to a channel:
To add a frequently used website to a channel:
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!
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!