Microsoft teams: all you need to know and why businesses should consider it as the new normal

Microsoft teams

Skype, Yammer, Slack, and the others have helped businesses, but do you know that you are still behind if they are all you use? Have you heard of Microsoft teams and do you know it’s got the best offer for you? Let me put you through.

Microsoft Teams is the tool that neatly packs all you got from the Skype, Slack and other platforms into a neat small purse with a little bit of more.


What is Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft Teams is a chat-based system of communication for business. It allows groups of people from an office, those working on the same project, or members of same interest groups to come together and have a free flow of communication.

This app is a collaborative communication app that can be used by both small and large scale enterprises, individuals like teachers, freelancers, students and anyone that works on Office 365. It has features like texts, VoIP, and video calls with integrated Office and SharePoint. All these options are organized to serve you in a user-friendly interface.

On this platform, you can meet with your co-workers or others who share in your interest; share and work on files as a team. This work can be done through a real-time desktop (with windows, Linux or Mac), a web-based app or a mobile app which you can access through to android, iPhone or iPad.

How can I communicate with Microsoft Teams?

The communication on Teams is made through channels. A channel is a segment of a team that allows organized sharing is information.

These channels are of two types: the standard and private. The standard channels are groups where you can communicate with everyone in the team if you wish. However, you can select the people you want to add to the standard channel.

With the private, you can send messages and files to a limited number of people. This channel can be created if every team member should not know the information you want to share.

It is possible to create more channels according to your desires with Teams. You can pin and unpin any channel at will. But you will make more out of your channels by extending them with bots, tabs abs connectors that will be valuable to your team members.

How Microsoft Teams can help your business

Businesses are currently seeking for a tool that can speed up their communication without misinforming their members and getting them to work together and meet the deadline. Microsoft Teams is that tool. It allows quick messaging and easy sharing of files.

Also, since it allows for easy integration of Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint, so, when preparing for a presentation, one team member can be making the slides while on his way from Hawaii, and the other is preparing the graph while waiting for him to land at the airport. When they finish, they turn the work online, and the work is done.

The group can never be too small to contain all your team members, the groups can take up to 999 members, and you can always create more groups.

Can I use Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft Teams is on Office 365 suite and is available for those with the following Office 365 plans:

  • Office 365 Business Premium
  • Business Essential
  • Office 365 Enterprise including E1, E3, E4 (if you got it before retirement), E5, and F1
  • Office 365 Education
  • Office 365 Education Plus
  • Office 365 Education E5

How to get started

To set up your Teams account, visit the Teams website and sign in your Microsoft account. If you have no account, create an account on the same page. With your account signed in, click the tab “Get The Windows App” to download and install to your device.

To use the web version, click on the tab below the one for downloads. You can use this browser version for many functions except making calls and setting up a meeting. So, I’ll prefer you to sign in through the app.

A page will pop up informing you of the available plans, choose or bypass that to the page where you will decide whether you want to create a team or join an already existing one.

To join, click on “Already Using Teams” and sign in. To create new, click “Sign Up For Free” and enter your email and name of your organization. Set up Teams when you are done.

Follow the next pages until you are done to complete your set up and invite members.

What is the cost of getting Teams?

You can get Teams for free if you have less than 300 people to add to the group, you can use the free version. This version will let you chat over the voice, text and video. However, if you have more intending members, or want more integration, you can pay a token of $5 per month for the premium.

The premium version will give you better security, better storage, access to official support, and more features for meetings. It will also provide you with Microsoft yammer, planner, SharePoint, and stream apps.

Again,  if you need something higher that can provide you with the desktop version of Microsoft office word, outlook and the rest, you will need to go for the package that costs $12.5 monthly.

This amount will be paid by every user and maybe a bit higher if you pay monthly instead annually. You can learn more about the pricing structure by visiting Microsoft’s website.

What differentiates Microsoft Teams from Slack?

Choosing between Slack and teams and be tough because they both offer quality services. However, the team provide some detailed options compared to Slack. Some people may choose to go for Slack’s 5GB over Teams’ 2GB storage for files, but you may find Teams better with the following:

  • Teams offer an excellent first-tier payment plan of $5 monthly while Slack gives $6. 67
  • With Teams, you can get more features including conference scheduling, screen sharing between users, and detailed recording of meetings.
  • Teams is a product from Microsoft, so it integrates with almost all its other products and even office 365 in the free plan. Meanwhile, Slack integrates Google products and others.

These two have some similar and different integration. Before making a choice, find out which one has the combination you will need for your business. if you will like to know more about Windows virtual desktop, you can check it out here

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Post Covid19 Era: What Every Freelancer Should Leverage on Now

Source: Peter Olexa

With the COVID-19 rife, and having the potential to span several months, adept entrepreneurs, as well as skilled freelancers, are taking advantage of the ongoing trend to work from home (WPH) Even though most businesses offer remote services before now, a complete telework environment is no easy feat for a full-blown business unit compared to standalone freelancers.

Whereas the former is entirely new to the system, the latter is already well-versed with rendering their services from home; therefore, they are looking for more ways to exploit and evolve the current course of service provision to the next level.

And as most government economies – such as the UK and Singapore, are offering more earnings to freelancers throughout the pandemic, teleworking is not a bad idea at this time. By any chance, this happens to be the best time to work remotely.

In this discourse, I would pinpoint the potential pitfalls to lookouts for, in addition to remedies and possible workarounds to maintain a persistent working relationship between you – as a freelancer, and your clientele.

That said, if you are a freelancer, already exposed to the idea of working remotely or a business looking to extend your services through teleworking amidst an era of global pestilence, then this guide is a must READ!

The Current State of the Freelance Economy
According to expert predictions, Europe accounts for 35.5% of the freelancing community, including a reasonable number from the US working population – that amasses over $1 trillion annually in the US alone. Another notable source highlights that almost 30 million freelancers are long term oriented.

While the combination of the top-tier freelancing platforms – Fiverr, Upwork, and Freelancer, incorporates 73% of freelancers, others find jobs through social media networks, referrals, and business-oriented networking sites such as LinkedIn.

Given the statistics, the competitive nature of the freelancing niche becomes very obvious. Hence to thrive on in this free-enterprise market, it is expected of freelancers to be at their A-game.

More so, the freelance space is a next-generation paradigm shift from the conventional way of rendering professional services with a broader outreach. And as such, Millennials predominates this niche. Hence, if you fall under these demographics, then things are going to be a lot easier for you.

If otherwise, do not panic. Below are some tips and tricks to keep you ahead of the game amidst the current economic recession.

Expand Your Horizon
Due to the current situation, most people are resulting in more remote services such as remote schools and learning institutions, etc., which is the best time for freelancers to expand their serviceability and outreach.

Expanding your serviceability could be done in several ways such as; learning new skills, creating multiple job exposure channels as well as signing up for more than one freelancing platform such as Upwork and Fiverr.

You could also try other business-oriented networking platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook Groups to increase your project acquisition scope.

In order not to get swamped by the growing number of freelancers in the space and to maintain a more than average visibility level, you would need to find a sustainable way of scoring freelance jobs. The idea here is not to rely on a single freelancing platform; neither do you have to rely only on freelancing platforms. Thus, by being able to harness and leverage your presence on other business networking platforms, you can create a personal brand as a freelancer that steadily brings in clients – and profits.

Reset Your Price Point
Because consistency and constant communication are critical, it more than essential to build a healthy relationship with a client on a fair and reasonable price over time. As opposed to bidding for a one-time gig that comes with a huge payment.

For example, most people would first contract a freelancer for a $5 gig that spans multiple hours to several weeks or months – which could eventually amount to a little over a thousand dollars in gross income, rather than offer $100 for a single job.

This methodology does not only improve a freelancer-to-client relationship, but it also guarantees a steady income stream. Thus, creating an avenue for other opportunities from clients such as payment for certifications, constant tips and bonuses, introduction to other clients, and also helping freelancers succeed in more ways than the traditional business procedure.

Find the Most Profitable Fields
Pro freelancers are also adroit researchers. Searching is a freelancer’s best tool; hence as a freelancer, you never stop learning. You should always be on the lookout for the trending fields with higher paychecks, as well as go the extra mile – enroll for an online course if the need be, just to acquire these new skill sets.

Keep in mind that it is never too late to learn that skill you had always wanted to develop. Notably, a diversified freelancer is a well-paid freelancer.

Also, while searching for trending and more profitable fields to leverage on, it is important to make a list of those areas of work that are closer to what you already know. Be sure to select only the gigs that you feel most enthusiastic about learning. By so, you avoid being a jack of all trade as you only focus on things you are already versed in.

Use the “FSF Strategy”
Since self-employed entrepreneurs cannot afford a human resource department to handle the financial loss that results from a client’s cancellation order. Jurists recommends the specification of a clearly defined cancellation and rescheduling policy in the business owner’s (freelancer’s) contracts. Considering that the industry standard duration within which a client can cancel or reschedule and forfeit, only the retainer is 30 days before the event. Through this, freelancers are protected by the FSF clause – Slated to protect freelancers if they cannot perform services less than 30 days prior, due to unavoidable circumstances. The FSB clause comprises of the;

– Force Majeure Clause: which is a French term for “superior force,” which is a clause that pardons a freelancer from performing an outlined service as a result of unforeseen events such as an epidemic.

– Safe Working Environment Clause: This clause retains the power to terminate any service in the event of precarious circumstances such as a working environment being affected with a plague.

– Failure of Company to Perform Services Clause: Is a clause that clarifies the procedure should you not be able to perform your services.

Repackage and Rescale
As a multifaceted freelancer, your number one goal should be to efficiently showcase your wide range of skills and abilities to your customers. You do not want to get prospective customers caught up between the myriad of services you offer. Neither would you want them to find it challenging to understand what is needed, subsequently struggling to formulate an order. The trick here is to package and organize your services into multiple tiers and categories.

For instance, if you offer services in more than one web development technology/framework, it is best to have a separate gig for every one of them rather than have all packed into a single gig. That way, a client looking to contract your service for a specific technology could easily navigate to the intended, in no time. The processes described above helps freelancers increase their profit margin as well as convert a valid number of prospective clients into actual customers.

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