There’s more to Microsoft than Word

Just over six months ago, I embarked on a new career journey and stepped into a whole new world – the world of Microsoft. I was asked during my interview on my knowledge of Microsoft, I began to say that I had used tools like Word, Excel and PowerPoint throughout my life, I also added that I was even familiar with Yammer (thinking that would impress them!). The role was an Adoption Consultant at Engage Squared, luckily, I got the job! However, I wasn’t prepared at all for the sheer scale of Office 365 and the new behaviours and ways of working that come along with it.

On my very first day, after being introduced to the lovely Sydney crew, I had some time to look at my Outlook (dammit, I forgot to mention Outlook in the interview!) and saw that I had a meeting in a couple of minutes with my (amazing) mentor, Emily. I Suddenly had this purple banner pop up on the right side of my computer asking to join the ‘Teams’ meeting. I was not sure what was going on, but I clicked on it and suddenly I could see Emily. The video quality was crystal clear, and I could hear her perfectly, it felt like she was right  in front of me. I tried to act cool like I knew exactly what was going on. In my previous role I used another virtual meeting tool and it was always a nightmare with technical issues and just generally not a smooth experience for all involved.

Within the first few hours I understood the chat, calls and meeting function of Teams (thanks to the user-friendly interface and built-in smarts). I was added to lots of different ‘Teams’, and within a Team, there were conversations, similar to a social media newsfeed, with posts about things people were working on and sharing ideas, using the @mention feature to notify people so nothing was missed. This blew my mind!

One of my colleagues, Mark, must have seen my face and gave me some advice, ‘it’s about working out loud’. This concept took me a little longer to get around, as I was used to saving things on my personal drive and sending documents to colleagues via email as an attachment. Working out loud was a new mindset, a new way of working that the technology enables. I have learnt it is about the behaviours and working collaboratively with your team early on (goodbye silos). I started creating documents saved in OneDrive or Teams and sharing links to co-author with my colleagues in real time, spending less time managing files and more time working on them!

When I was out and about with clients and I needed to look up a file and I only had my phone I started to panic, but realised all I needed was to download OneDrive and Teams to my phone and I would have access to everything – winning! The mobile apps lets you stay connected when you’re on the move, or perhaps running a little late for work and need to join a 9am meeting on the train through the Teams app, it’s all good!

There is this huge community of people that live and breathe Microsoft and get together to share, network and present at meetups. I was luckily enough to attend Microsoft’s Ignite in Sydney this year which was so eye opening. I even helped organise a couple of events for the Yammer updates and was fortunate to meet some amazing people, and die-hard Microsoft fans (its all about how many Microsoft t-shirts you own!)

If like me, you’re new to the world of Office 365 and Teams, here are my top 3 tips when getting started:

  1. Start fresh, be open to new ways of working, even if you have always done something a certain way, does not mean it’s the best way!
  2. Educate, spend time watching videos, registering for webinars, reading updates, and attending events (when you can). There are so many smarts that you might not be aware of unless it’s pointed out to you that could be saving you LOADS of time
  3. Don’t be scared of making mistakes, Microsoft have many features that mean even if you accidentally delete something, you can usually restore it. You really do learn from your mistakes (trust me!)

Chelsea has been with Engage Squared a little under a year and loves working with clients on their adoption of Microsoft 365. She is a skilled Microsoft Teams advocate and mentor, empowering users with unprecedented opportunities while on their technology change journey.

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