What colleagues are saying about using Microsoft Teams

We've been collaborating with staff across the organisation to create some case studies for Microsoft Teams.

The case studies will give you real examples of how colleagues are using the new platform and it's features to collaborate and support remote working.

Andrea Parr, Coordinator and Christian Heathcote-Elliott, Principal Public Health Practitioner, Wider Determinants of Health Unit share their experiences of using Microsoft Teams. 

We have found MS Teams really useful for weekly team meetings as well as working on projects collaboratively since it was introduced. Our most significant use was using the Teams Live Events feature to host a number of Public Health Network Cymru (PHNC) digital events. The PHNC is hosted by the Wider Determinants of Health Unit and as part of its usual business hosts in person seminars and conferences throughout the year. These had to be put on hold due to social distancing and a number of our team members being redeployed to assist with the direct Covid-19 response. It became apparent that with Teams Live Events we would be able to deliver webinars for the PHNC membership and other interested stakeholders.

We immediately saw benefits of this including:

  • having capacity for more delegates than an in person event
  • potentially reaching a larger audience across and beyond Wales
  • minimal financial and environmental costs (e.g. travel and printing) compared to delivering in person events
  • making events more accessible not only through the live event streaming but sharing the automatic recorded event at a later date 
  • still allowing the audience to interact with presenters through the question and answer chat function
  • allowing us to deliver live events with a reduced human resource 
  • allowing presenters to pre-record segments to enable them to fit their presentation around their availability which is particularly important during these challenging times

Our first two events were hugely successful with over 200 attendees and MS Teams allowed us to capture data which contributed to the evaluation of the webinars. It has also allowed us to engage better with delegates post event and we have seen an increase in PHNC membership registration as a result of the webinars. 

We have compiled our own ‘How to Webinar’ guide which includes tips and tricks and useful standard documents for use when planning and hosting a webinar via MS Teams Live Events. Once this is signed off we will happily contribute it to the existing Teams resources on Public Health Wales website. 

 

We’ve received positive feedback from both presenters and attendees on the use of Live Events and would recommend it to any team looking to hold something similar.

I’ve been using Microsoft Teams for a couple of months and have utilised as many of the different functionalities as possible in this short space of time. Currently, the Research and Evaluation team are primarily using the chat and video call function in order to maintain regular contact.

On a whole I’ve had no issues with these functions, I do find the ability to only have nine people on screen at one time somewhat disruptive to the flow of the conversation (however I understand that this number is going to be increased shortly by Microsoft).

Recently, I’ve been able to use the ‘Live Events’ feature to run and broadcast the Science in Health Protection webinar. Our event was one of the first in the organisation to use this functionality and I found it relatively easy and straight forward to use after a bit of practice.

A couple of the Live Events features that I particularly liked were:

  • The ability to ‘queue’ different screens/presentations, which allowed for a smooth transition between speakers.
  • The Q&A feature as it allowed us to monitor and moderate different questions coming in from all our attendees.
  • The recording of the event was also a great option to have as it allowed the event to be accessible to those that were unable to join live.

We’ve received positive feedback from both presenters and attendees on the use of Live Events and would recommend it to any team looking to hold something similar. The only downside that we found was the ability to have the same sort of level of interaction between presenters and audience members that you would get during an in-person conference, however, as an alternative it worked really well and I understand the ‘Breakout room’ feature maybe a way to address this further.

 

The use of Teams was a real success for us and I think it’s fair to say we would’ve struggled to achieve the statutory deadlines without it.


Financial year-end is a significant annual project for the Finance Team and as March progressed, it quickly dawned on us that it was not going to be straightforward this year. The whole team was working remotely due to Covid-19, but the situation also meant that the statutory audit of our accounts by Audit Wales would have to be carried out remotely.

The use of Teams was a real success for us and I think it’s fair to say we would’ve struggled to achieve the statutory deadlines without it. The most important and successful function we used for the audit was the sharing of files. I could easily upload working papers and audit evidence to our ‘Team’ (password protected for additional security where needed) which the auditors required to support their work. We also used video calling for regular check-ins with the audit team to discuss any issues. Being able to share our desktops was useful too and substituted having the auditor sitting next to us looking at financial transactions in Oracle. The chat facility was also handy to resolve small queries quickly and it was a welcome relief to not see these piling up in my Outlook inbox!

Looking forward to next year, even if Audit Wales are able to spend time on site with us, we have discussed achieving the audit through a hybrid of on-site and remote working. This will ensure we maintain the efficiencies we benefitted from this year.
 

Keep an eye out for more case studies over the coming weeks and find out more about how you can get started with Teams here.