Office 365’s time to shine has come – don’t get left in the shade
The cloud-based productivity suite Microsoft Office 365 was purpose-built to support remote working. Users can access files and familiar apps from any mobile device, provided they have an internet connection. If you’re already using Office 365, you probably already know how to share files with OneDrive and organise meetings with Teams. But dig a little deeper into apps like Word, Excel and Outlook and you may find that Office 365 offers more ways to boost productivity than you realise.
Top tips to boost remote productivity with Office 365
OneDrive is an essential remote working tool that lets you access your files from anywhere, on any device – but there are many other features that can help you and your team work more efficiently. Here are a couple of our favourites:
- Recover old file versions – OneDrive automatically saves your files as you work, so you don’t lose your content if your machine crashes. But what if a colleague goes into OneDrive and overwrites your version? No problem. Log into OneDrive and locate your file. Then click the three dots next to the file name and choose ‘Version history’ from the pop up menu. All your previous saved versions will be displayed.
- Work offline – sometimes you need to work where there isn’t a Wi-Fi signal. Log into OneDrive online and click the ‘Sync’ option at the top of the screen. This creates a OneDrive location on your computer containing the same files and folders that you have stored in the cloud. You can easily access your files offline from your computer. As soon as you get back online, they will synchronise again.
Word and Excel
Two of the most familiar and powerful tools in the Office 365 suite – Word and Excel enable you to collaborate more effectively and efficiently.
- Save time on amends – when multiple users collaborate on a single Word document, tracked changes can build up quickly. One way to narrow them down is to isolate and accept all the formatting changes. Under the Review tab, select ‘Mark-up options’ and uncheck everything except ‘Formatting’. Then click ‘Accept’ and choose ‘Accept all changes shown’. Go back and re-check the other options and you’re left with just deletions, insertions and comments.
- Get your comments noticed – when you’re editing a Word or Excel document in OneDrive, you can tag a colleague to let them know when action is required. Create a new comment, type ‘@’ followed by the person’s name in the comment. They will then receive and email notification and a link to the document that needs their attention.
Unsurprisingly, Microsoft Teams has seen a huge spike in use since the start of lockdown. You’re probably using it for meetings and chat – but here are a couple of useful features you might not know about:
- Keep everyone in the loop – if you want to forward an email to a group of people, you don’t need to type out everyone’s address – you can simply send it to a Teams group. Find the Teams group you want to message, select the three dots and choose ‘Get email address’. You can paste the address into Outlook and forward your message to the group. You can then use Teams to discuss the email with everyone in the channel.
- Auto-transcribe meetings – yes you read that right. If you record a meeting in Teams, you can now generate a transcript of the meeting, saving you the time and effort of typing up minutes and actions by hand. Select the three dots next to the recording in your Chat feed and choose ‘Open in Microsoft Stream’ then select the three dots below the video. Choose ‘Update video details’ and set the video language to English. Then select ‘Auto-generate a caption file’ and choose ‘Apply’. The caption file will appear next time you open the video file.
Outlook is one of the most familiar Microsoft tools – so much so that we probably take it for granted. Here are a couple of Outlook tips that can boost your team’s productivity:
- Organise your incoming messages – if you’re constantly dealing with incoming mail, it makes sense to set up folders and let Outlook organise your messages so that you can easily decide which to read first. Select ‘New items’, choose ‘New folder’ and give it a memorable name. Right click on an email and choose ‘Rules’. You can then tell Outlook to put all messages from that sender in your new folder – and read them at your leisure.
- Check whether your message has been received – when working remotely it’s tricky to keep track of who is available at any one time. Before sending a message, select ‘Options’ and then choose ‘Delivery receipts.’ From there you can request a ‘Delivery’ receipt or a ‘Read’ receipt. Now you won’t be left wondering whether your colleague is AFK (away from keyboard) or simply too busy to read your message.
Create a happier, more efficient team with Workplace Analytics
Workplace Analytics is one of the most useful tools within Office 365. The Workplace Analytics solution for teamwork helps build better collaboration by allowing your team to establish goals and track progress against those goals. For example, if your employees feel they are spending too much time on collaboration and not enough on focussed tasks, you can set a goal to shift this metric. Workplace Analytics will then gather insight on working habits at the organisational level and communicate the learnings to individuals. By encouraging workers to run efficient meetings, create time for focused work and respect work/life boundaries, Workplace Analytics can help you create a happier, more productive workforce.
The cloud-based productivity suite Microsoft Office 365 was purpose-built to support remote working. One of its big strengths is that it and includes the apps and tools your team already knows and loves. Check out our quick tips and you’ll find that many of these apps offer more ways to boost your productivity than you realise. To get even more from Office 365, take advantage of Workplace Analytics.