By Clare Shaw, Organisation Development Partner

As we all come back into our normal working habits in the New Year, it’s worth having a bit of a declutter before. One of the things I’ll be doing is taking a look at the Yammer Communities I’m part of and having a tidy up. For example, I’ll be removing myself from the ones I don’t really spend much time in.  

This way I can focus on the information that’s right for me.  It’s the same for Teams. Very often we add colleagues to Teams and Channels that they don’t really need to be part of. Remember, you can ‘Leave’ a team, and this way you remove any ‘noise’.   

Another useful tip is to think about how you communicate with colleagues. Try to avoid dropping messages in chats, Teams or Channels without being clear on the purpose and audience. If you’re creating a conversation in a Team or Channel, add a subject, @mention the colleagues you’re targeting, provide them with links to documents and add an action. It saves things getting lost.   

Another great feature colleagues can start to use is Teams Insights – I love it! It’s a little summary all in one page that I don’t think enough people know about.  It provides lots of useful information: colleagues you communicate with the most; where you can book ‘Focus time’; your ‘to do’ list. It’s a great tool that can help you to understand your priorities and time available to manage them. 

A few final tips  

  • Always check a colleague’s status message before messaging them
  • Send a chat message if you need to speak to someone, provide a little context and it’ll make it easier for them to book the right amount of time in to talk
  • Use Teams instead of email if you want to talk. I’ve found Teams has broken down barriers! I no longer feel embarrassed to approach a lesser-known colleague. I feel comfortable reaching out on Teams
  • Proactively manage your documents – if you start in Teams, it’s easier to manage your documentation rather than moving things from OneDrive to Teams
  • Archive what you don’t need. Even if that’s as simple as moving documents into an Archive folder – it’ll speed up your processes
  • Each month, try and find something new! It could be using Forms to create a survey or creating a Yammer poll. That way you get more use of the tools bit by bit

As a Champion, I’ve spent some time working with my teams, providing colleagues with tips and information to do things faster and more efficiently. I’d encourage colleagues to share their learnings too. For example, if useful information is provided through the Champions network, I pick out what I think might be relevant and share the tips with my team.  

I’ve learnt quite a few things from colleagues just explaining in the moment a new thing they’ve tried that’s been useful.  Things change and improve so quickly – it’s great that the tools can continue to help us find new and exciting ways of working.   

For more useful tips about how you can use Office 365 to improve your processes this New Year, visit the Office 365 site and the Yammer Stay Informed or Help & Guidance communities. Don’t forget to share your own tips too.