How Teams helps Northeastern staff connect
You’ve heard that Microsoft Teams helps people work more efficiently – but you don’t have to take Microsoft’s word for it! Here at Northeastern, Teams is helping faculty and staff do their jobs every day. Here are a couple of their stories:
‘We are embracers’
“No one in the team has met in person, but we are connected and are working together effectively as a team.” That’s the reality this year for a lot of people working together on projects, and Clare Martin has seen Microsoft Teams become extra valuable as officemates have become remote workers. Martin is director of planning and projects in the Office of the Chancellor, focused on strategic initiatives that affect the entire university.
“We are embracers” of Microsoft Teams, she says of her group because “Teams makes remote collaboration easy and we constantly use the chat function to keep in touch on both work projects and fun team building activities.”
She particularly likes the ability to connect other applications, such as Smartsheets, direct to a Team as it keeps all project information together in a single, easily sharable location. Her project groups also like that the outside vendors they work with are already familiar with Teams, this has allowed easy collaboration on both domestic and international projects, crucial at a time where travel is limited.
Jon Frederick claims the crown for having created the most teams at Northeastern. Frederick, the IT director at Khoury College of Computer Sciences, turned to Teams in the spring, when the university quickly transitioned classes and operations online-only to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“I used our course data and I used Powershell scripts to create teams for every single section of every single course,” Frederick says, empowering instructors and students to engage with one another in new digital ways.
He particularly likes the chat function in Teams for getting people’s attention quickly, and he’s currently using a Teams integration with Microsoft Planner to manage a purchasing process for Ph.D. students who need new computer equipment.
His group was one of the first at Northeastern to move to Teams calling, replacing the old campus phone system. “We have space issues, people moving around a lot, so Teams reduced overhead from a process standpoint,” he explains.
Teams calling also allows for more flexible and extensible services for voice calling. For instance, any campus number in Teams can be configured with an “auto attendant” – a phone tree that forwards to different extensions based on simple questions about the caller’s needs – or a “call queue” – a virtual “room” of people who can answer that line.
Frederick and his group are enthusiastic about the calling features. “They immediately realized how awesome it was,” he says.
Want to know more about how you or your group can get more out of Teams? Northeastern offers a variety of Teams training opportunities.