Getting the Most Out of Office 365: Train on Teamwork

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dreamstimeIf you are working at a medium or large company, then you are probably the member of several teams. Different companies divide teams differently; sometimes by product or by customer or discipline. Frequently teams do not set up shared spaces or use team communication tools. Too often email becomes the communication tool and sending documents back and forth is considered collaboration. Microsoft has been building new tools for teams to work better together. When planning training for Office 365 consider focusing on teamwork instead of individual productivity.

Tools like Yammer, Office 365 Groups, OneDrive for Business, OneNote, and Office 2016 have all been built with a focus on teamwork. Sharing photos, videos, status updates, or other information typically gets done with email. Unfortunately, this means email becomes a file server and is overloaded with big attachments. IT staff will set a policy that will delete old emails, and this means critical information can get lost and work will need to be redone. Avoid losing work to expiring emails and stop bogging down email servers; instead use OneDrive for Business and OneNote to hold your important information.

Yammer Groups via Microsoft

Yammer Groups via Microsoft


Many companies believe they are underutilizing the Office 365 subscription they are paying for, but they do not know how to get their employees to change their habits. First, focus training on the team tools people will be using every day instead of mentioning supporting technology like OneDrive for Business or SharePoint. Most people do not care about the names or technical details concerning their work tools; they are just interested in getting their job done. While SharePoint is an amazing technology, it can be confusing to explain and cumbersome to train people on.

Luckily there are products like Office 365 Groups and Delve, which make finding, saving, and creating content on SharePoint and OneDrive for Business easy. Yes, some training on OneDrive for Business and SharePoint is important, but it should not be the focus or the lead. Instead spend time on workflows that drive teamwork while reducing email like Yammer Groups or how to share documents so you can simultaneously co-author them.

These new cloud connected tools enable truly up-to-date project planning and communication. Work tends to follow the path of least resistance. Rarely people take the more difficult path to end up at the same result. There is value in teamwork, however, and working in a team may use different tools than working alone. This means although people think of Office as a productivity tool for individuals, it becomes a tool for teams when OneDrive for Business or SharePoint is facilitating the sharing in the background.


New tools can frequently be so daunting people do not know the first question to ask. When the IT staff sends out an email wondering why people are not using SharePoint, it may turn into an Emperor’s New Clothes situation. To drive adoption of new tools, let the focus be on the new timesaving workflows and teamwork instead of the tools. Showing teams how to work together with the cloud will be more effective than a mass email telling people to use SharePoint.

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