You Can Be Productive Working Remotely With Microsoft Teams


This 11-page guide contains tips on how you can navigate the complexities of remote and hybrid teams. (See a preview.) It covers how to:

  • Keep People Engaged
  • Prepare as a Presenter
  • Encourage Team Culture
  • Maintain (or Gain) Productivity

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Keep People Engaged

Turn On Your Video

Turn on your video when you’re on a call with team members or customers to get that face-to-face interaction. Studies have shown that 55% of communication is non-verbal body language.

When we meet in person, we take that for granted (along with other cues that convey mood and tone). Not only will this help with clear communication, but it may also keep participants more engaged in the conversation and less likely to multi-task during the meeting.

Share Your Screen

Share your screen to keep everyone focused and on the same page (literally). This will help drive a common goal, keep people engaged, and allow meetings to be more efficient and effective.

If you are sharing your screen, it’s a good idea to zoom in on your content. You might be viewing the document or presentation on a large monitor, but others may be on smaller laptop screens or even mobile devices and struggling to view the details.

If you like in-person meetings because you can draw out your thoughts and ideas on a whiteboard, try the Microsoft Whiteboard app within Teams. As long as participants are within your organization, they’ll be able to collaborate with you on a shared whiteboard. The whiteboard will also be available after the call for continued collaboration.

Engage Participants One at a Time

Be sure to engage the participants in a call to make it more collaborative. Make sure to wait a few moments to allow people to come off mute and ask/answer questions or make comments. I have a rule on my team that unmute is the norm unless your dogs are barking or you’re snacking on something crunchy. This allows for more impromptu dialogue and those non-verbal, but vocal, sounds of agreement or concern.

When you do engage the participants, single out one person at a time. This helps avoid people talking over each other – where they both start talking and then each say, “go ahead”, and then both start talking again. This also helps give everyone a voice – even those team members or participants who might be more reserved will have an opportunity to speak up.

For larger meetings, muting your microphone isfine, especially if you are mainly listening to a single presenter. Teams has a new “raise hand” feature that lets anyone in the meeting send a visual signal that they have something to say. You could also have participants type in the meeting chat for things of lesser importance or Q&A if you don’t want to be interrupted during the presentation.

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