By Steve Crawford

Do you remember when email was first invented and various organizations and individuals insisted that it was ‘just a fad?’ Well, it’s 25 years later and email is used globally now more than ever, exemplifying the permanent mark that emerging technologies can have. While email is still the main form of workplace communication for most organizations, the emergence of Microsoft Teams and other collaboration tools has taken the business world by storm. 

In one of our previous articles, we discussed the various benefits that collaboration toolsincluding Microsoft Teams, can bring to organizations, such as saving time, decreasing confusion, and increasing organizational transparency. All of which tie in to increasing the organization’s overall revenue and profit, especially considering one study found that the average ROI for Microsoft Teams is 832%. What we didn’t discuss in that article, however, was how deploying Teams in the wrong way can actually hinder productivity rather than help it.  

If organizational leaders don’t create and enforce the right standards for Microsoft Teams, it can result in even more confusion and anguish than before. Without a customized infrastructure in place, Microsoft Teams can become a free for all and employees will start using it without intention, driving away from organizational efforts and goals, and towards their own personal motives. If you want your organization to reap all of the possible benefits that Teams can bring, you have to make sure you’re avoiding these common pitfalls of deployment. 

Using Teams as an Individual Tool 

Despite the opposing use cases behind Outlook and Teams, many organizations are using them in the same manner, which is solely for individual communication purposes. While one of the intents behind Microsoft Teams was to provide instantaneous communication methods, that wasn’t intended to be the main use of the tool. One study discovered that employees at large companies are sending an average of 200 collaboration tool messages each week, which when multiplied by the number of employees in each channel seems like an impossible number of messages to read and keep up with—because it is.

When there are this many messages are being sent and received in Teams each day, employees are spending more time in their Teams channels and conversations than they are in their email inboxes, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. If Teams is consistently misused by employees, it will just become a second inbox for them—one that takes even more time to manage! 

Lack of Depth in Training Programs 

Rather than considering the long-term implications that a rushed or insufficient training program could have on their employees and their productivity, some organizations tend to push out the quickest and easiest training program they have at their disposal. This quick and easy training program is generally the included “how-to” Teams instructions from Microsoft, which is focused on features and benefits of the tool versus how to use it for maximum effectiveness in specific roles. These cookie-cutter training programs also fail to cover the strategic ways that Teams can be used for collaboration and do not set usage standards, resulting in a series of issues for teams, individuals, and the organization as a whole. 

If your Microsoft Teams training program doesn’t have the required depth, employees may never be using Teams for maximum productivity as intended by Microsoft. Instead, individuals will create a use case that makes the most sense to them, typically one that uses Teams as a messaging or social tool, and suddenly everyone is lacking alignment on what the purpose of Teams is and how it’s supposed to be used to support their team’s goals and outcomes. Pushing out the quickest training option may seem like the best decision in the moment; however, slowing down and investing in customized training is undoubtedly the best option long-term. 

Not Setting Governance Standards for Employees 

Proper governance and standards are essential for productive use of any company-wide tool. Yet, even when organizations are clarifying their purpose of Teams and slowing down to create a comprehensive training program, they often fail to implement the necessary governance surrounding its use. As one of the most common pitfalls of Microsoft Teams, a lack of governance is the difference between sustainable and short-term tool adoption. 

To enforce a governance process, organizational leaders should be making decisions about usage rules before they deploy Teams to the rest of the company. Microsoft suggests that organizations clarify and adhere to strict governance rules, such as deciding who can create teams, what the naming conventions for teams will be, and what the guest access capabilities will be. This process will reduce confusion and overcommunication, as it limits who has access to Teams’ main usage settings. 

Avoid These Common Pitfalls by Deploying Teams the RIGHT Way 

Nearly 75% of employersrate teamwork and collaboration as ‘very important’, yet 39% of employees still believe their organization 

doesn’t collaborate enough. Countless studies have proven that collaboration is the key to success for any business, and while the pitfalls of collaboration tools can have an adverse effect, organizations who deploy them correctly are setting themselves up for long-term success. In order to experienceall of the benefits that can come from collaboration tools, organizations must ensure they’re deploying Teams the right way. In order to do this, companies should focus on setting up a consistent Teams infrastructure, implementing a workflow management process, and creating an approach to shared leadership.

For more information on how to properly deploy Teams, check out our new White Paper, Creating Infrastructure and Governance for Productivity in Microsoft Teams. You can also contact us today to hear more about how our Driving Productivity Through Microsoft Teams program can help your organization. Whether you’ve already deployed Teams or are looking to do so soon, our consultants can help you figure out how to productively implement the tool in to your organization.  

Learn More About Microsoft Teams Adoption

Our Driving Productivity Through Microsoft Teams course is designed to help organizations use Microsoft Teams to create an infrastructure designed for success, enforce governance by setting team standards, and better manage their workflows to focus on achieving team goals.

Learn More