The COVID-19 pandemic has completely transformed our idea of what it means to be ‘at work’. Overnight, thousands of businesses were forced to switch to remote working, and this is likely to last long after the pandemic is over. A recent study found that up to 88% of workers wish to continue working from home to some extent after the pandemic.
This shift to homeworking was made possible by technology, and Microsoft Teams quickly became the platform of choice for remote communication. By offering a free 6-month subscription to Microsoft 365, Microsoft was able to establish itself as the market leader. There were 650 million Teams calls in October, 11 times more than in March.
While Teams has made it easy to hold remote meetings, employers are now facing another challenge. How can you maintain a sense of team spirit among remote workers? Microsoft is mindful of these concerns and has recently announced another batch of Teams updates, designed to restore and maintain personal connections. Let’s take a look.
A better calling experience
Microsoft has completely overhauled the process of making and receiving calls in Teams. The calls app has been enhanced for a more streamlined experience. Users can now find their call history, contacts, voicemail and dial pad in a single convenient location. The process of recording and saving calls has also been improved, allowing users to save audio files automatically to OneDrive or SharePoint.
Microsoft has also introduced several features that make Teams calls more flexible. CarPlay support will allow users to make and receive Teams calls while driving and, from early 2021, users will be able to switch easily between mobile and desktop calls. There is also a new spam identification tool, helping remote workers to avoid unnecessary interruptions.
Improved business calling
Microsoft has introduced a range of new capabilities to keep your business running smoothly. Collaborative calling allows you to create specific channels for different departments. You can integrate call queues with these channels so that customers are put through to the relevant department. These channels will be voice-enabled from early next year.
Microsoft is also focusing on improving the contact centre experience. User APIs will be integrated with Teams, helping you to reach the right colleague when you need help. Contact centre providers will also be able to apply for Microsoft certification from 2021, so you can use them with confidence.
Finally, the new ring back function allows you to transfer calls without worrying about being disconnected. If you transfer a call and the recipient is unavailable, Teams will bounce the call back to you.
Teams offers a wide range of hardware options. As well as mobile phones and desktops, it can be integrated with other more task-specific devices. Teams Displays are a set of specialised devices that allow your staff to keep track of their work with a handy touch screen. Displays can be integrated with Cortana for hands-free use.
Microsoft has also teamed up with Yealink and AudioCodes to produce a new range of low-cost phones. These affordable handsets automatically integrate with the Teams app and will be available from early 2021.
Remote working is here to stay and, thanks to Microsoft Teams, your relationship with your staff won’t suffer. If you have not yet switched to a cloud telephony system, now is a great time to do so. An cloud-based phone service prepares you for the future by allowing your staff to keep on top of incoming calls wherever they are. Microsoft Business Voice integrates effortlessly with Teams, making it the natural choice for 365 users. Best of all, we are currently offering a 30-day free trial and 25% off your purchase.
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