Teams Etiquette | Avoid being a Cottenheaded Ninnymuggins

2020 has brought us many surprises, to say the least. While remote work is far from a new phenomenon, many organizations who had yet to even toy with the concept found themselves launching new systems to keep their teams working through the pandemic. Many turned to Zoom, but far more leveraged Microsoft Teams. If you’re one of their 115 million daily active users, this post is for you. 

Microsoft Teams’ intuitive UI and ease of use enable users to quickly dive into using it. While we all have unique ways of communicating—much like the rules of the road—there are some guidelines everyone should follow to keep some civility and sanity in the space. Back in March, we put together universal Microsoft Teams Etiquette rules to help us stay sane in the chaos. Since then, Microsoft has substantially added to the Teams feature set. Our gift to you is an updated etiquette checklist to help you avoid an embarrassing moment or two.  

No matter the size of your organization, follow these rules to avoid frustration.   

Universal Microsoft Teams Etiquette 

Pinkies up!   Let’s find some calm and do our best to keep carrying on…   

1. Mind the thread 

Each team channel provides a tab for channel-specific conversations (labeled ‘Posts’ in the tab nav.). Without some structure, conversations can become difficult to follow, and that’s where threads come in. When you post a new message, you have the option to respond to a previous post or start a new thread. If you are continuing a conversation around a specific topic, mind the thread.  Don’t be like Kunaal. 😛 In an attempt to assist with this, Teams recently updated the text button to “New Conversation” to help people better visualize the threads.  

2. Include a subject line when starting a new conversation.

When starting a new conversation/thread, be sure to include a clear subject that tells users what you expect to discuss. This will help users follow #1!   

3. @mention people when their response is required, but don’t overuse this feature

We’re often members of multiple teams with many channels, and it can become challenging to keep up. If you know that a specific team member’s attention is required, @mention them in the post. However, use this only when necessary; you don’t want to become the boy who cried wolf.   

4. Set your status

If you plan to be away or unavailable, you can set a custom status with automated responses in your absence.    

5. Use your words. 

The reaction feature is great and all, but every organization—or person for that matter—has different interpretations of what 👍 means. If someone is asking for your approval and it’s not extremely clear in your culture that a ‘like’ means “approved!” do everyone a favor and respond in the thread too.    

6. Only create Teams when necessary, and follow governance!  

Avoid team sprawl—and upsetting your governance enforcer—by being mindful about when you create a new team. If your organization doesn’t have specific guidelines around teams creation (which we highly recommend you do), consider if you really need a new team or if a channel will suffice.   

7. Mute! 🙊 

Stay muted when you’re not talking on meetings, but be ready to unmute as to avoid the most uttered phrase in online meetings, “sorry, I was muted.” 

8. Raise Your Hand  🙋 
Avoid talking over your teammates in large meetings by politely raising your hand. This alerts the team that you have a question or comment without interrupting. 

9. Blur your background in meetings 

Backgrounds can be distracting and embarrassing. While many of us have our littles at home right now as well, avoid moments like this by turning on the blur background feature.    

10. Know who you’re talking to 

Teams and private channels have unique groupings of people, often including external users. When external users are part of a team or channel, it’s especially important to establish clear naming conventions, so you know when you’re in a team with external users. For example, at PixelMill, we name teams and channels that include external users as such, “Client_CompanyName.”   

Did we miss a Microsoft Teams etiquette rule? Please let us know! Are you ready to empower your organization with Teams, but need some help setting governance to encourage proper use? A PixelMill Teams expert would love to chat with you today!   

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