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Future of work online meetings productivity remote work

7 Whiteboard Templates for Reimagined Collaboration and Improved Processes

Processes, workflows, and team goals are constantly evolving regardless of the size of your organization, and collaboration tools are essential for documenting and maintaining all of them. Among these tools, online whiteboard applications are indispensable for teams to brainstorm, plan, and track projects visually and collaboratively. To maximize the benefits of these tools, using the right templates can transform how your team works together. We’ve gathered seven of our most popular templates that you can use today to reimagine and reinvigorate any of your collaborative workflows.

7 Different Templates to Try

  1. Organizational Chart

While internal HR systems make it easy for team members to see who their leaders or direct reports are, they often take time to update and are often not as flexible as we’d like them to be. A standard org chart is useful, but a dynamic chart showing relationships between your team and other teams, departments, or external partners can better illustrate your workflows.

  1. Customer Journey Mapping

Customer journey mapping is essential for marketing teams as well as sales and product teams. -Mapping the entire customer life cycle helps your team understand your customers, their goals, and their experience with your product. Building a clear customer journey helps to surface potential gaps in both the market and the product that your team can work to fill in your industry.

  1. SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Analysis

SWOT analysis helps teams of all sizes and calibers make informed decisions and prioritize the next steps for improving the outcomes of any organization. By regularly identifying and leveraging their strengths, teams can achieve their goals more efficiently and boost morale, often leading to higher productivity. Recognizing weaknesses, spotting opportunities, and identifying threats help teams improve, innovate, and manage risks to stay competitive and forward-thinking. 

  1. User Story Map

While marketing, sales, and support teams will need to utilize the broader Customer Journey template mentioned above, engineering, product development, and quality assurance teams will find benefits in the User Story map. This helps teams visualize the end user’s journey within your product, ensuring a clear understanding of user needs and goals. Organizing and prioritizing user stories streamlines product development, ensuring efficient and focused progress. Additionally, user story mapping aids in identifying gaps and dependencies in various product workflows, so you can ensure a high-quality product is delivered. This approach can further enhance collaboration among team members, promote a user-centric development process, and ensure that the final product aligns with your users’ expectations. 

  1. Process Mapping

Process mapping offers significant benefits to your organization. It helps teams visualize workflows and understand the sequence of activities involved in a process. Documenting frequently repeated processes enables your team to work more independently, reducing the need for assistance Outlined processes also make it easier for leaders to identify inefficiencies and bottlenecks, enabling teams to streamline operations and improve their productivity. Clearly outlining processes promotes better communication and collaboration for cross-functional teams, makes aligning team members on process steps and objectives easier, and standardizes procedures for consistency and quality.

  1. Eisenhower Decision Matrix

The Eisenhower Decision Matrix is a tried and true approach to task prioritization. It helps prioritize tasks by categorizing them based on urgency and importance, ensuring that high-priority tasks receive the most attention. Doing so improves time management and helps reduce the stress in decision-making, as individuals can focus on what truly matters without being overwhelmed by less critical tasks. This approach increases productivity by helping people work more efficiently and effectively. Additionally, it ensures that focus remains on high-impact activities that contribute significantly to personal and organizational goals, ultimately leading to better outcomes and success.

  1. Kanban Framework

The Kanban method brings several great benefits to the table for task management and tracking. It uses a simple board system to visualize tasks, so teams can easily see what’s being worked on and spot any bottlenecks. By setting limits on how much work is in progress, the Kanban system helps keep your team’s workload balanced and aids in reducing inefficiencies. Use this board to help improve teamwork and communication since everyone can track progress and stay on the same page. Plus, Kanban encourages regular reviews and tweaks to processes, leading to better productivity and a smoother workflow overall.

Customizing Templates in Whiteboard

While there are many more professionally designed templates available for your team to use in Whiteboard,- you can also easily create and save your own templates to meet all of your collaboration needs.

When you’re ready to get more from your whiteboard, get started for free with Frameable Whiteboard.

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AI productivity

How Incorporating AI Tools Can Reduce Cognitive Load in Your Team

At this very moment, you’ve likely had or overheard many different discussions about using AI (artificial intelligence) in the workplace or your everyday life. Organizations everywhere are looking to find the best and fastest ways to drive innovation and digital transformation using one or more of the exciting AI technologies entering the market every day. As a team that works to develop tools to improve remote and distributed work, we’ve conducted a variety of research on what tools, best practices, and gaps exist for knowledge workers. Our inaugural research report for 2024 revealed that a majority of knowledge workers feel overwhelmed by the number of different tools they have to use on any given day to complete their jobs. Research confirms that frequent context switching significantly hampers productivity, prompting leaders to find effective solutions to reduce the cognitive load on their teams. The time-saving benefits could open up even more time for knowledge workers to spend a greater portion of their day in deep thought or focus. This is a huge win for organizations looking to stay on the cutting edge of their industry. With this in mind, we started developing our latest tool, the Overview AI Assistant, to help relieve some of this burden and constant context-switching.

Enhancing Decision-Making with AI

LLMs (Large Language Models), the core of how we think of many AI tools today, are deep learning algorithms that can recognize, summarize, translate, predict, and generate content by using very large datasets. Generative AI, a type of LLM, is often used to create images, videos, and text, but it can also facilitate the comprehension of large amounts of data. With data analysis in record time, AI can quickly provide insights and recommendations, streamlining the decision-making process. In the context of Frameable’s Overview, the AI can analyze the content of connected Microsoft Outlook calendars alongside Teams chats, channels, and files, reduce time spent on administrative tasks, and suggest actionable insights. By improving the speed of everyday tasks, AI rapidly facilitates a more productive workday and enables workers to make better decisions, faster.

It’s important to keep in mind that AI in the workplace is an aid, not a substitute, for human potential and oversight. All currently available AI tools have their limitations, and there remains a clear demarcation between tasks AI can correctly complete and those it cannot. It must be consistently reiterated that employees will still need to validate and employ their own “cognitive effort” to ensure their AI-generated outcomes are valuable and accurate. But, knowing where that line lies, and where that line lies in regards to organizational goals and specific tasks, will be crucial for successfully using AI to enhance or speed up decision-making processes. Instead of concentrating on tasks and processes that AI cannot automate, it’s often more beneficial for companies and their staff to concentrate on processes that can be accelerated with AI assistance, such as generating a first draft or summarizing long documents. Only your team will understand all of the intricacies surrounding your goals. Letting AI speed up summarization and surfacing the right content frees up more time for in-depth conversations and tasks that cannot be outsourced to an AI assistant. However, this type of implementation will only improve outcomes if it is paired with clear training and an understanding of where employees need to break from using AI and conduct analysis themselves since many AI-generated answers and suggestions can appear, on a surface level, to be correct, this step in training is necessary to prevent employees from simply “turning off their brains”.

While this may seem like a reason to stray away from implementing an AI tool, a recent research report from McKinsey found that knowledge workers spend up to 19% of their week, or nearly 8 hours in a standard 40-hour work week, searching for and gathering information. Information retrieval is something that a lot of us spend a great deal of time doing when a machine can often do the same work quickly and more efficiently. Imagine freeing up an extra 8 hours every week!

How to Know if an AI Tool is Right for Your Team

The first step in deciding whether to integrate an AI tool into your organization involves analyzing your existing tools and surveying your team to identify any gaps, frustrations, or underutilized features in your tech stack. From there, you’ll want to research different, tools, trends, and strategies to understand where your goals align with the possibilities various AI tools offer. 

If you’re ready to improve how your remote or distributed team can leverage AI within Microsoft Teams, it’s time to explore Overview by Frameable. In our latest update, we introduced our Overview AI Assistant, built to be easier, more accurate, and more efficient to use than Copilot for Microsoft Teams.

To learn more, download our latest white paper covering the latest research, best practices, and insights on implementing AI in your organization.

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AI Microsoft Teams productivity

Frameable’s New AI Assistant for Microsoft Teams Tops Copilot So Far

As an independent software vendor working to improve the end-user experience in Microsoft Teams, Copilot’s public release had us on the edge of our seats. Yet, so far, we’ve been disappointed.  We aren’t the only ones

Continued tool explosion has many knowledge workers feeling overwhelmed with the sheer number of tools they need to do their jobs.  That’s why having a useful, accurate, and well-integrated AI tool that enhances personal productivity from within Teams is a worthy goal.

With all this in mind, we set out to develop an AI resource that delivers the context and accurate answers we need throughout the day, increasing our overall thru-put from inside of Teams. We succeeded, and now we’re releasing it to the public:  announcing AI Assistant for Teams from Frameable.

After permissions are in place, Frameable’s AI Assistant accesses 1:1 chats, group chats, meeting chats, channels the user is a member of, transcripts of recorded meetings they were invited to, and several other data sources.  The assistant references and weighs all these sources to provide private, fast, and comprehensive answers to key questions (prompts) asked by a user throughout the workday.
Ready to explore AI within Teams?  See how Frameable’s new AI Assistant compares to Copilot in our latest video comparison, and then explore Frameable’s full suite of apps designed and built specifically to enhance productivity and collaboration in Microsoft Teams.

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Future of work productivity remote work Virtual Training

Mastering Engagement in Virtual Training: Key Strategies for Success

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn.

Organizations that want to retain top talent and stay ahead of the curve know that remote and hybrid work arrangements are critical to their success. This crucial realization also comes with a new need: providing new hires, current employees, and potentially many others with an effective and engaging path to getting trained on company policies and procedures, professional development resources, ongoing learning. Translating an engaging and successful in-person lecture or course into virtual content, live or otherwise, is not necessarily a straightforward path, especially if you want to ensure trainees leave having had a high-quality experience.

Understanding the Virtual Training Landscape

The world of virtual training is marked by plenty of ever-changing trends and challenges. But one core issue remains: how to captivate and maintain your audience’s attention in an environment rife with distractions and the temptation to do anything else besides pay attention to the content (like answering emails or scrolling on your phone). Below, we dive into a variety of strategies for virtual training for overcoming these hurdles, so you can transform passive learners into active and engaged participants.

What Makes a Virtual Training Engaging?

There is a difference between adding shocking facts into a training session and providing true value comes down to making your content as relevant to the learner as possible. Think back on your current virtual training set-up and content plan: How can you include new or surprising ways to share the information you need to get across? How can you connect your content to real-world applications that learners will encounter in the workplace and beyond?

When learners are presented with content in a way that makes it easy to absorb and relevant to them, they are more likely to stay focused, engaged, and retain the information you are sharing. This can come in any form of training: live instructor-led sessions, pre-recorded training videos, or interactive quizzes. The crucial element remains the same: make sure your trainees leave the session feeling like what they learned is crucial to their success and relevant to their job. Learners who leave sessions feeling energized and capable are a huge win for trainers and their organization’s bottom line. 

When you start with this approach, instead of repeating the same processes, you’re likely to discover room for improvement in both your content and how you deliver it.

Strategies for Virtual Training Success

The virtual environment requires a new approach to teaching methods. Virtual learning can be uncomfortable or hinder community building without clear instructions due to a lack of established social norms. While some students may feel exceptionally comfortable in a virtual learning environment, not everyone will.

This offers you, the instructor, the opportunity to be exceptionally prescriptive when assigning group projects or having students disperse into virtual breakout rooms during a call. By taking away some of the worry and anxiety that can come from uncertainty, you can better equip your students with the information they need to focus on the task at hand and find the value in what is currently on the docket.

Furthermore, when it comes time to break out into sessions or develop new modules, you will also want to rethink how you disseminate different lessons. Repeating the same slide show and lecture format can become exceptionally arduous in a virtual classroom. While sometimes it is unavoidable, there are other approaches to consider when developing lesson plans that drive better student engagement and participation.

Consider how your team can implement a variety of the following:

  • Personalized learning paths: for small class sizes or one-on-one training, consider spending time getting to know the individual goals of your student or students
  • Gamification of certain modules: Explore Kahoot, Quizlet, and many others that can make learning more fun and aid in content retention.
  • Dynamic, visual content: Instead of classic slideshow presentations explore options such as Prezi for redefining how you develop lectures.
  • Video-based lessons
  • Peer-review assignments

Building Community Through Virtual Training

Community building is essential for sustaining long-term engagement and for creating a sense of belonging. Regular check-ins, group projects, and social forums can help in crafting an inclusive and supportive community. Utilizing approved internal channels or other connection platforms helps to make the learning experience more comprehensive and integrated into participants’ daily lives.

Measuring the Success and ROI of Virtual Training

Measuring the success of virtual training can come in a variety of forms. This can include closing larger sales, reducing turnover, increasing in-house promotions over external new hires, or seeing improvements in your employee satisfaction surveys.

If one of your goals with training is to develop a loyal customer base, great training can help you get there faster. Buyers especially take notice when they have a great experience with your brand. A pleasant experience with a skilled and knowledgeable representative and great support content leads to more closed deals and a higher average sale according to data from Seismic

Both employees who represent your company to customers and those with internal roles report higher job satisfaction and likelihood of staying with a job due to consistent and supportive training, according to IBM. For those with a goal of increasing overall employee satisfaction, offering professional development courses, trainings, and opportunities for career advancement are a crucial piece of the puzzle. 

At the end of the day, engaged employees are more likely to benefit your bottom line, and those with the resources to succeed are going to provide more value to both the company and their team. 

Next Steps

The journey from traditional to virtual training environments is complex but rewarding. By implementing the strategies outlined, trainers and HR leaders can foster more engaging, productive, and effective learning experiences. Building connections in virtual settings is not just about technology; it’s about creating an immersive, interactive, and inclusive learning culture that adds value and resonates with participants.

Explore how Frameable can help your team level up virtual training in Microsoft Teams or sign up for a demo today.

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Hybrid work online meetings productivity remote work

6 Tips for More Effective Virtual Training

Virtual training has become essential in the new age of work, and it comes with benefits!

Virtual training sessions are less costly than renting out a venue and catering a meal for hundreds of trainees, meaning you can allocate that budget elsewhere. And because you can record a virtual training session, you can repurpose its content to provide lasting value. Further, people with accessibility needs can join virtual training sessions more easily from wherever works best for them.

Given this incredible potential, companies should ditch their old new-hire process and build a modern training strategy to reflect the needs of remote and hybrid work. 

How To Host Successful Virtual Training Sessions

Effective virtual training offers many of the same elements of in-person training—small group exercises, Q&A, and hand-outs—while using the digital environment to its fullest potential.

As you restructure your new hire training, consider these best practices for hosting virtual training sessions:

  • Include Breaks Between Training Sessions: Employees need a mental break between training sessions. Breaks also allow them to grab a snack or use the restroom. Ideally, you should provide at least one 5-10 minute break per hour to achieve optimal retention.
  • Provide Engaging Content: Trainees are most focused when given visually engaging presentations and opportunities to interact with the training content. When creating your training slides, include brief details on slides and use bullet points when possible. Further, you should continually outline the processes you are working through and create opportunities for new hires to analyze and think critically about what they are learning. 
  • Recap Material Twice Daily: At the end of a training day, summarize key points and ask team members what concepts stood out. Host a similar conversation the following day and ask if there are questions that trainees may not have realized they had when you initially covered the material. 
  • Vary Your Training Structure: Your training content should be as easily accessible as possible, whether it’s a presentation, video, or hands-on project. Experiment with each training structure and switch up your style across training sessions to keep the content engaging.
  • Ask Employees How They Like to Learn: Employees have different learning styles and may prefer to consume your training content in specific ways. Ask employees about their training experience and how they prefer to learn. Consider catering your training to individual needs and creating resources that repurpose the content for different formats.
  • Create Spaces to Connect: Whenever possible, enable trainees to collaborate during the training. Onboarding is a valuable opportunity for them to get to know each other and build a meaningful connection. 

Virtual Training Is Essential For A Fulfilling Employee Onboarding

Regularly seek feedback about your company’s training and ask employees how you can improve their training experience. By experimenting with different training structures and repurposing your content for new formats, you can appeal to the range of different learning styles within your company.

One of the most common times you train employees is during their new employee onboarding, which can make or break your new hire’s future with your company. Don’t worry: we’re here to help. Download our virtual onboarding ebook for a complete walkthrough of how to deliver a fulfilling virtual onboarding experience, including how to develop a virtual onboarding plan and strategies for engaging new hires. 

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online meetings productivity remote work

6 Virtual and Remote Training Tips and Tools to Improve Your Workflows

A recent analysis of over 96 studies revealed that virtual learning can be up to 19% more effective than traditional, in-person learning. Not only can virtual learning be more effective and accessible to more people, given its nature, but virtual training, when done right, is an easy way to learn a great deal. 

If your organization is taking the leap into remote training or virtual onboarding, there is much to consider: 

  • What platform should you host sessions on? 
  • How often should sessions be scheduled? 
  • How do you keep attendees engaged? 

Below, we explore how to host successful virtual training sessions from anywhere, and technology and software outside of traditional meeting or conferencing software that will elevate the experience for you and your trainees. 

How to Host Exceptional Virtual Training Sessions

  1. Have a clear learning objective you want attendees to take away
    1. One of the best things you can do for your trainees is provide them with clear guidelines that articulate precisely what you want them to take away from training sessions. Doing this will help both you and your trainees understand where their goals should lie, and you can point back to these objectives throughout the training so they can self-assess their progress. 
  2. Chose different ways to engage attendees throughout the session
    1. Some people love to raise their virtual hand and participate in discussions, while others are more keen to stay behind the comfort of the chat box and participate from there. Regardless of how different attendees like to engage, it is crucial to attempt to engage all participants in multiple ways so that each member has a chance to shine and participate in a way that works for them. When posing questions to the group, switch back and forth between asking for answers in the chat, coming off of mute and answering a question, or using polls and other meeting functionality to encourage participation. Incorporating easy-to-use games like Kahoot! makes checking comprehension and participation more fun for everyone involved. 
  3. Take breaks often
    1. At this point, we’re all familiar with “Zoom Fatigue” and its ever-present strain on remote work and education, but that doesn’t mean dealing with it has gotten any easier! It is still as important as ever to factor in breaks, especially if you want to ensure trainees retain as much information as possible from your sessions. The cognitive load of video calls is significantly higher than other forms of learning and communication, making breaks to stretch, walk around, and look at things other than your screen exceptionally important! Our rule of thumb is to factor in a five-minute break for every 30 minutes of content. If you are delivering a longer content block, consider slotting in breaks of 15 minutes or more between sessions. 

The 3 best tools for virtual training engagement 

  1. Virtual Whiteboard
    1. Whether you are leading a brainstorming session or want to build connections between different ideas, a virtual whiteboard is a great way to help make connections among learners, and encourage participation across the group. Products like Miro are great collaborative options that you can often install directly into your chosen video conferencing software. 
  2. Multiple Screen Sharing Software
    1. If you want to ensure everyone follows your instructions or guide them through a complicated situation, employ a multiple-user screen-sharing software. Sharing multiple screens at once can give you a similar experience as walking around a classroom to ensure everyone is on the same page. Additionally, this allows learners to show they are paying attention without turning on their camera feed—thus providing a reprieve from worrying about how they appear on camera while giving training leaders the ability to verify everyone is engaged with the lesson. MultiShare is an excellent option for unlocking this capability and can be installed directly into Microsoft Teams calls to allow up to 15 users to simultaneously share their screens at once. 
  3. Quiz Software
    1. An engaging quiz platform is essential to the virtual training environment! Platforms such as Quizlet are great for creating flashcards for trainees to utilize or short quizzes to check comprehension, and it’s easily accessible with a widely-used free version. It’s a user-friendly option for training leaders to design study or supplemental materials for your courses and for learners to build their own quizzes to enhance their information retention. 

Training and onboarding are challenging in any format, and virtual training is a unique problem deserving of a unique approach. If you want more resources to host virtual onboarding sessions, explore our Virtual Onboarding Handbook. The guide is packed full of new ideas and proven strategies to make training and onboarding as smooth as possible. And when you need that collaborative spark back in your virtual training sessions, MultiShare is just what you need to bring the classroom feeling to the virtual world.

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productivity remote work

9 Technology and Equipment Recommendations to Empower a Distributed Workforce

A shocking 49% of employees who work away from an office at least one day a week say their company does not provide them with remote collaboration tools. Of those given collaboration tools, 26% say the tools aren’t exactly right or haven’t received training to use them well. 

To create a successful hybrid work culture, companies must enable their employees with the tools for remote collaboration and connection. Let’s look at the most important tools that companies should provide.

Remote Work Tools and Equipment Every Company Should Provide

Your distributed workforce needs the right tools and equipment to be successful. Employers should provide the following technology items and equipment in their official workspaces and employees’ home offices:

  • Computer or laptop: Employees need a reliable, updated desktop computer or laptop. A laptop is an ideal choice for its portability and because it provides many of the items listed below. 
  • Monitor(s): Ask employees if an additional monitor would enhance productivity. Provide at least one monitor if you provide desktop computers to your team.
  • Keyboard and mouse: Supply ergonomic keyboards and mice to provide comfort during long working hours and avoid potential adverse health effects. 
  • Headset or earphones with microphone: Improve call quality by giving employees a headset or earphones with a microphone. This will also enable them to type while talking.
  • Reliable internet connectivity: Help remote employees secure a stable internet connection to prevent disruptions in their work.
  • Web camera: Ensure remote employees have a functional webcam for video conferencing and virtual interactions.
  • Collaboration tools: Provide access to collaboration platforms, a digital workspace or virtual office, and project management tools to facilitate seamless asynchronous teamwork.
  • Video conferencing software: Select a platform for face-to-face video communication and virtual meetings, and set up accounts for your team members.
  • Security software: Protect your team and company data from cyber-attacks by providing security tools like antivirus software and VPNs.

Help Virtual Employees Thrive From Day One

The above tools are essential for building meaningful connections in a virtual workplace, but employees must understand how to use each tool successfully.

Your employee onboarding is the ideal time to provide each employee with these tools and explain how they can use them. To help you craft the perfect virtual onboarding experience, download our virtual onboarding e-book to set your virtual and hybrid team members up for success from their first days with your company.

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productivity remote work

3 Microsoft Teams Collaboration Problems Everyone Has and How to Fix Them

Personal preferences aside, we can all agree that remote and distributed work is here to stay in one form or another. But, the more pressing issue for leaders and their employees everywhere remains how to support remote collaboration with tools that fit how employees would like to work. 

With over 280 million active monthly users, Microsoft Teams is likely to be a collaboration tool you and your team regularly use or come into contact with. Even with such a huge user base and a respected brand name like Microsoft, there are still many challenges Teams users tend to encounter that can make for even more frustrating collaboration efforts–especially remotely. We identified three of the most common and easily fixable problems and offer insights into improving team collaboration. 

Are you missing MS Teams notifications? 

Find any Teams user, and they’ll likely tell you a similar story about notifications in Teams: they often miss them completely! This isn’t a new phenomenon either–since its introduction in 2017, Microsoft Teams has been frustrating for users of all ages and industries. While direct messages are a bit easier to keep up with in Teams, messages across varying teams and channels regarding different projects can easily fall through the cracks if you aren’t constantly checking all the correct places.

The first way to combat missed messages from colleagues is to head to your personal Teams notification settings. Here you can customize how you receive notifications and update your preferences for notifications from the “Teams and channels” sections. Since teams and channels are not considered direct messages, this is one of the best ways to ensure you are not missing key communication. 

Your next option to make sure you’re not falling behind is to use the Activity section of Teams. By default, this section should be the top pinned section in Teams. Otherwise, look for the alarm bell icon. The activity section aggregates all of the updates, notifications, and activity you’ve missed across all channels, direct messages, and group messages you are a part of.  

Overall, keeping track of notifications can be a game of trial and error, so it is important to establish clear expectations around expected response times and offer leniency and support to new team members as they work to establish a system that works best for them. Clearly outlining what your team considers an urgent notification versus an awareness notification can greatly help team communication prioritization and collaboration.

Poor search functionality in Teams messages and slow history loading

Whenever I get a new meeting invitation to my Outlook inbox, I am always left cursing myself for accepting the invitation too quickly before saving any attachments or reading the details, as the message disappears into the unknown ether of my inbox. Searching for the details in your inbox or Teams history is also a hassle. If you are a fellow Teams or Outlook user, I’m sure you know the feeling! 

So how do you overcome the frustrations of the search functionality in Teams, especially when you’re in a rush? You have a few options:

  • Are you looking for a specific file?
    • Images, PDFs, spreadsheets, and similar file types are the easiest to find. Head to the “Files” section of your recent chat threads or project channels related to what you are looking for. 
  • Are you looking for a specific message?
    • Use the search functionality to search for any keywords you remember from the message and then select “messages.” Here you can filter based on sender, channels, date, direct mentions, or if the message contained an attachment.
    • If you’re still struggling to locate the message, we suggest using single keywords versus a string to maximize the number of search results Teams can return.
  • Are you looking for an old group message thread?
    • This is the easiest problem to solve for! If scrolling down through your messages isn’t bringing the correct thread to you, create a new message and add the people from the chat you are looking for. Once you start adding multiple people, if you’ve been in a chat thread with them, previous messages will populate. Trial and error adding various users can help you find older threads that haven’t been active recently. 

Difficult to work with switching back and forth between different collaboration applications 

As any remote worker will tell you, the one thing you really can’t replicate with most remote work tools is pulling up a chair next to your coworker, setting your laptop down next to theirs, and comparing notes or ideas across your two screens. 

Working together with coworkers in real-time is one of the best ways to get things done and can often be more productive and collaborative than sending updates or versions back and forth to be worked on separately. But, if you’re a distributed or remote worker, this can become a unique challenge to solve for. 

While some tools offer great collaboration abilities, if you’re working across multiple applications simultaneously, Teams only allows you to share one screen at a time during a call. Switching back and forth between shared screens starts to take up time and just becomes an added annoyance. 

Incorporating tools that ease these small but bothersome problems for remote and distributed workers can not only improve productivity, but also improve job satisfaction by removing friction points from day-to-day tasks. For many teams, this can be accomplished by adding Google Docs or Miro into their tech stack to smooth out any bumps in communication and collaboration. 

But when it comes to being on a video call with colleagues, sometimes it would be easier if multiple people could share their screen at once–and not surprisingly, it’s one of the most requested improvements in the Microsoft community forums! Our team decided we couldn’t wait any longer and decided to fix the problem ourselves, and so MultiShare was born. Adding MultiShare to Microsoft Teams allows everyone to screen share at the same time, without worrying about kicking off the other team members’ shared screens. It’s exactly what we’d been missing for so long.

If you’re ready to level-up your next working session, add MultiShare to your Teams instance today. Explore MultiShare on the AppSource marketplace, or book a demo with one of our experts to learn more.

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productivity remote work

Do You Have the Right Technology and Tools to Support Remote Work?

By now, we all know that remote and distributed work will remain a part of many of our lives in one way or another. Whether your team is deciding to go remote to save on real estate costs or because you believe it is in the best interest of your employees to give them the flexibility that remote work offers, providing your team with the proper tools to maximize the benefits of remote work is crucial for both your success and theirs. 

For over five years, our team has been working together from all corners of the U.S. and the world, and we’ve come to discover what is most important not only for productivity’s sake, but also for supporting all aspects of our team’s work and lives. A recent Harvard Business Review survey discovered 59% of workers feel their collaboration tools are not aligned with how they and their teams prefer to work. Just like providing employees with the flexibility of remote work increases employee satisfaction, giving your team the tools they like and need to be productive and collaborative is equally important.

Our fully remote team has compiled a list of tools we use daily to show you what a people-driven technology suite can look like for your team.

Here’s a peek at our team’s collaboration stack:

  • MultiShare
    • Frameable MultiShare is our new app that we designed to make working together as a remote team easier. Born out of our other product, Spaces, MultiShare allows for simultaneous screen sharing by as many users in a call as needed. Just like pulling up a chair at your coworker’s desk to work back and forth between your respective screens, MultiShare gives our distributed team the flexibility they need to get things done faster than ever. Everyone can follow along and toggle back and forth between shared screens without slowing down a meeting or verbally passing along screen-sharing permissions one by one. It’s been a productivity game-changer, especially for our developers and designers, and during big working sessions and brainstorms with many ideas flowing back and forth.
  • Spaces
    • Frameable Spaces is our flagship product that houses all of the add-on features we make to enhance collaboration within Microsoft Teams. Spaces is our team’s virtual office inside of Microsoft Teams, allowing us to see ongoing meetings, join project rooms to collaborate, and view everyone’s status and availability so we always know who to contact with a pressing question. For a distributed team like ours, having a virtual office space that provides more transparency across departments and teams, has given us a greater sense of connectivity and made ad-hoc collaboration more seamless as we crush our goals.
  • Google Workspace
    • Google Workspace offers a wide range of features and functionalities that enable seamless teamwork and enhanced productivity. Our team particularly relies on Google Docs, where multiple team members can simultaneously edit and contribute to a document in real time, fostering collaboration and eliminating the hassle of version control. Google Sheets allows for easy data sharing and collaborative spreadsheet work, enabling teams to collectively organize, analyze, and update information. With an easy-to-use interface and real-time updates, Google Suite is perfect for any team, and essential for a distributed team. 
  • Figma
    • Figma is the primary tool we use for design-centered tasks. Figma makes design approachable and its elegant interface is great for cross-team projects involving both designers and non-designers. Being a distributed team, Figma’s real-time collaboration capabilities are top-notch, enabling multiple designers to work simultaneously on the same project. Figma also creates more increased visibility into what others are working on, meaning if one team member is out on vacation it’s easy for another to pick up right where they left off. Being a web-based product also means Figma projects sync across all devices automatically so designers never have to worry about accessing the correct, most updated version of a project.
  • Microsoft Teams
    • Since we built our products to integrate with Microsoft Teams, it’s no surprise our team also employs Teams for instant messaging and video conferencing. We love using Teams since it seamlessly integrates with our in-house products, and has a familiar feel to the rest of the Microsoft Office suite. The best part is that you can access chat, video calls, your calendar, and group messaging threads within a single application. Our team loves that we don’t have to switch back and forth between different applications for messaging, calls, and collaborating.
  • Jira
    • Having a centralized project management tool is something every remote team needs. Jira provides a centralized platform where team members can collaborate and track progress on tasks regardless of their physical location. It enables efficient communication and eliminates the need for lengthy email threads or scattered information across different channels. Jira’s comprehensive features, like issue tracking, task assignment, and workflow management, allow remote teams like ours to organize efficiently. Team members can create, assign, and prioritize tasks, set due dates, and monitor progress in real-time, ensuring everyone stays aligned and accountable. Jira offers transparency by providing visibility into the team’s work and progress. Being a remote team, it’s essential that members can access the latest updates, view project timelines, and generate reports from anywhere. Lastly, Jira integrates seamlessly with other popular collaboration tools, such as Microsoft Teams, Slack, Confluence, and Trello, making it easy to add into your suite of tools.

If your team is ready to stay ahead of the curve and stay connected, finding a group of applications that work best for your team is imperative for your success. For those with the means to survey your team on their preferences of collaboration software, this is a great opportunity to gather their feedback on how they like to work best, and provide solutions to make them feel both heard and supported. 

Finding the right tools to support a diverse and collaborative team is a constant effort from all parties, especially leaders. Explore how MultiShare can bring back the collaborative energy your teams want without sacrificing the value and benefits of remote work.

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Microsoft Teams productivity remote work

How to Transition from Slack to Microsoft Teams Without Losing Your Culture

Recently, our organization made a shift from using Slack to Microsoft Teams. The transition was not without its challenges, but we learned a lot along the way and are excited to share our experience with others. Many organizations are going through a similar transition as Teams has continued to grow, expanding from 44 million users in November 2019 to over 270 million users by 2022, far outpacing Slack’s 18 million active users.

In this blog post, we’ll outline key differences between Slack and Microsoft Teams from an end-user perspective, provide tips for planning and executing a successful transition, and offer advice on how to get the most out of Teams once you’ve already made the switch. Whether you’re considering a move to Teams or are already in the process, we hope this post will help make your transition as smooth and successful as possible.

Slack vs Microsoft Teams

Slack and Microsoft Teams both primarily function as business messaging apps but there are a few key differences between the two. Below is a chart outlining some of the key differences our team has noticed between the two platforms.

SlackMicrosoft Teams
Guest AccessSlack offered a more streamlined guest access experience, allowing single-channel guests to easily join one channel for free.We have found guest access to be more limiting in Microsoft Teams. Users need to be granted a licensed account and login to access channels.
Messaging CapabilitiesOur team misses custom emoji reactions and the smoother drag-and-drop file attachment capabilities within Slack.Teams has opened our eyes to the world of animated GIFs as they are easily accessible to add from within chat. We also enjoy the chat threads that are created directly from video calls, allowing us to easily communicate with specific team members.
IntegrationsWhile Slack offered many third-party integrations, you still must leave the platform in order to collaborate. Our team relied on the Google Drive integration to share file access and see document activity but users still had to click and open a browser tab to actually enter the document.Teams has advanced integrations with all Office 365 apps, allowing company member users to easily navigate to shared files from directly within the Teams app. Check out our recently launched apps as well! This is how our team improves the existing in-call experience with advanced features such as multiple screen shares and a dashboard of key Teams functionality.
Video CallsWhile Slack has video calling capabilities through third-party integrations, we did not use this feature.Teams allows us to easily make video or audio calls to multiple people directly from a group chat.

Planning and executing a successful transition

While we were all accustomed to using Slack and comfortable with its features, we recognized that Teams offered a more integrated and comprehensive solution for our growing workforce. Specifically, we were looking to integrate the Frameable Spaces platform directly into our messaging tool. 

We started by identifying a core team of individuals to lead the transition and serve as a resource for others during the process. This team was responsible for researching Teams’ features and capabilities, creating accounts on the new platform, setting up our teams, and answering questions from staff members.

For a successful transition we recommend:

  1. Map how you plan to migrate from Slack to Teams
    • Create a document outlining the steps and timeline for the transition. This should include converting what were previously Slack “channels” to “teams” within Microsoft, and ensuring the threads have the same privacy settings. Share this high-level view with employees and be sure to explain the reasons behind the transition.
  2. Migrate pinned files
    • If it is important for your organization to preserve historical records, you may want to look into exporting content from Slack. Depending on your Slack service plan, you will have the opportunity to export channels and direct messages. Our team built in a buffer period where employees were able to access both softwares during the transition to alleviate any concerns about losing historical records.
  3. Provide training and resources for employees
    • Be sure to offer training sessions and resources for employees to get familiar with Teams and the features it offers. To help employees get familiar with Teams, offer a mix of group training sessions, one-on-one coaching, and self-paced resources such as video tutorials or online guides. Encouraging employees to seek support as needed can also help facilitate a smoother transition. Be open to feedback and make adjustments as needed to ensure the transition is a success and your team is able to take full advantage of Teams’ capabilities.

While there were some initial challenges and adjustments to make, we are now enjoying the benefits of Teams’ integrated tools and more streamlined communication. Planning and executing a successful transition from Slack to Teams required effort and commitment, but it was well worth it in the end.

Tips for getting the most out of Teams

  • Use the Teams section and create channels for various functions, projects, and interests. Don’t forget to include some channels that help your remote and hybrid teams get to know each other.
  • If you find a group or a project is getting lost in group chat threads, create a dedicated channel so ideas, documents, and comments stay in one place.
  • Adjust your notifications so they work for you! Make sure you turn notifications on for important channels and adjust how and when you receive meeting reminders.
  • Explore apps and integrations to enhance your experience.
  • Customize or re-order the apps on the left-most panel so the tabs you use most are always readily available.

Improve remote work within your Microsoft Teams instance

If you are considering the switch to Microsoft Teams or are in the process yourself, improve your experience with Frameable! Enhance your employee experience and productivity by unlocking the Teams functionality your team has been asking for. Book a demo to learn more!

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