Teams news summary of Microsoft Ignite

#MSIgnite, the Microsoft Ignite 2020 – did it again. The big and beautiful Microsoft tech and developer conference delivered again tons of announcements, news and information. In this post I am focusing on Microsoft Teams related news.. and I am not trying to list all of them but ones I see the most essential + a few picks from the roadmap that make sense in this context. There are some “old” news with updated schedules and then again I did left some out in purpose. And this is still a long post – If you are in a hurry check out news marked with 🌟 and come back later for the rest.

When there are new interesting announcements or additional information later I will update this article to include them as well. So please come back again.

As always, it is good to remember that roadmap dates are “best estimates for release product group can give today”. They are subject to change but they give idea when features can be expected to start the rollout. For currently known estimated schedules (23rd of September) I listed all roadmap dates to a summary blog post to make it easier to have a one-glance view when these can be expected to be available for users.

Of course one important link to keep on checking is the M365 roadmap for Microsoft Teams in development and rolling out features – including several of these:

Microsoft Ignite Books of News can be found here: for all announcements in Microsoft Ignite 2020

🌟Microsoft Teams will support teams up to 25k members later this year! I just leave that there because it will be enable the use of Teams in larger organizations than before – without a need to break the organization to smaller teams. Thinking about other releases like PowerApps for Teams, Pinned posts, Home Site App and others it enables to use Teams as a platform – or ‘operating system’ for daily info work. In some organizations this will lead Teams to be the main internal social media when team structure (channels, context, tabs, apps, use of business processes) is built smart and lasting way.

🌟Together Mode was a success when it emerged during the summer. It has helped to fight the meeting fatigue already since it is refreshing and I can see everyone at one glance. On top of that it can be also fun since you can high-five your friends and useful since raising your real a hand is very nicely visible in the Together mode. Now this gets better since it gets new screens: new auditorium, conference rooms or and even a coffee shop. Together mode will also be enhanced with a feature that automatically scale and center participants in their virtual seats, regardless of how close or far they are from their camera. Release schedule is later this year.

🌟The other greatly anticipated features was been real Breakout Rooms and they are coming out really soon: October!

Breakout Rooms allows meeting organizer (the one who created the calendar invitation) to split meeting participants into smaller groups by creating breakout rooms. Teams can distribute attendees automatically to rooms. The organizer can then start rooms and visit any one of those or make announcements that reach out every room. When rooms are closed all attendees are returned to the main room.

🌟Custom Layouts make meetings look better via enabling dynamic experience. Presenters can enable different views where both video and content are visible at the same time – including overlaying video on content or prioritizing video while moving content box to a corner. For example, they can choose for participants to see the presenter’s video feed transposed onto the foreground of the content being presented on screen. This feature uses the same AI segmentation technology employed by background blur and Together mode.

This makes it possible to create more versatile and interesting presentations with just Microsoft Teams – without having to use other tools, like OBS Studio for example, to manage the stage. Custom Layouts are coming later this year.

🌟Meeting Spotlight is already rolling out to tenants! Spotlight allows a presenter to choose the video camera that is shown to all attendees. This differs from “Pin camera” in a way that pin camera was a personal setting while Spotlight affects all attendees.

🌟Create tasks from chat and channels, will available in the next few weeks. This feature has been awaited since Microsoft To Do came out. It allows to create tasks right from any Teams chat or channel conversation. Select More options on a Teams message to choose Create task and track in the Tasks app.

🌟Customizable Praise badges, now rolling out, enable organizations to customize employee praises with custom branding. Admins can customize Praise in Teams Admin Center

🌟Meeting Recap brings post-meeting experience to the new level by bringing in together all relevant meeting information like the recording, chat, shared files and for example transcript in the details tab. You can also download attendance report from this screen.  Live captions with speaker attribution is now rolling out and will be also part of the meeting recap. Enabling the meeting transcription is a great way to automate note taking – when the meeting is in English.

Meeting recap is coming this year.

🌟What is also change is how meeting recording is stored and managed. In the future (scheduled to be released later this year) meeting recordings will be stored in OneDrive or SharePoint site. This enables to manage recordings just like any other file allowing permissions and sharing (external sharing! Hooray!) , retention policies, governance, immediate recording availability right at the meeting end much more. Since recordings will be files in OneDrive/SharePoint they are also included in the search.

Large meeting support is a bit of old news already but we got more details out. The Teams meetings supporting 1000 interactive participants is coming by end of this year. And meetings exceeding 300 interactive users can scale to support 20 000 participants in a view-only mode with live captions. This overflow meetings is rolling out soon . Both these capabilities are included only with Advanced Communications add-on.

🌟Registration and engagement reporting, in other words webinar support, is coming to Teams! This includes new attendee registration process with automated emails and it will make it really easy to organize webinars and events when this rolls out! It also includes a reporting dashboard to post-meeting insights and attendee engagement analysis.

Also the Q&A is included in the attendance report.

Scheduled for release this year.

Teams Templates are now rolling out! This updates the team creation experience and allows Teams admins to manage templates & their structure that are available in the organization by defining channels and apps. New templates can be created by selecting an existing template or building a new from the scratch.

Info Pane emerged earlier this autumn but now Pin Posts and the New Conversation button are rolling out to Teams. The New Conversation should reduce the number of accidentally created new threads when users see better the difference between reply and creating  a new thread. Pinning posts allows to attach specific posts to the info pane so they can be easily opened later and important information (like vacation list or after-work activities or even project information ) is not lost when the channel has active conversation. To take fully advantage of pinned posts the info pane should be open – but it is just a touch of the button to open or close it so as usual: make Teams to suit your needs and don’t be ok with defaults!

This month also sees the rollout of Suggested replies on Teams mobile. AI will create and suggest short responses based on the context of previous message.

🌟The Teams Search is dead! Long live Microsoft Search for Teams! We all had our difficulties and anger moments with Teams search (while it did grow to be better and usable during years) but that will be soon a thing of the past when the new Microsoft Search is released to Teams later this year. This allows a better and more smart searching experience. When using Microsoft Search from Teams it is focusing on Teams vertical only. But that is not all – you will be able to search Teams (& Yammer) conversations from SharePoint (Conversations-vertical)! This is a small step for… No. Let’s rephrase: This is a giant leap for both users and Teams.

🌟SharePoint Home Site App for Teams will connect your SharePoint Home site / intranet to Teams! Unlike those versions done with App Studio “Teams-ready solution” this app fully supports navigation in SharePoint sites. And that is big because organizations can start using Intranet from within Teams – and they can use it via browser as well. This truly makes Microsoft Teams ❤SharePoint and they are #bettertogether. One giant leap to users and towards using Teams as the primary operating system for work. And yes, it is fully branded as well! Coming later this year.

🌟Insights app in Teams (Wellbeing and productivity) is coming to Teams starting in October. It will get new features like virtual commute and integrations with apps like emotional check-in experience during first half of 2021. Visit  to learn more.

Yammer notifications will come to Teams activity feed when you are using Yammer Communities app. This way you will get Yammer notifications even when you Yammer app is not open. On top of notifications Teams users can search for Yammer conversations using Teams search bar!

Tagging by shift allows Teams messages to be targeted to recipient groups based on their role (tags) and the shift they are working – such as tagging or sending a message to every nurse, doctor or security personnel on duty. Users are automatically assigned to tags based on their Shifts app schedule. Rolling out in November.

Walkie-Talkie is now available on Android.

🌟Off-Shift access controls, rolling out in October, will let admins to configure Teams to alert employees when they accessing Teams app on their personal device outside of working hours.

Microsoft Teams Rooms (MTR) is getting a Meeting room capacity notifications warning message. MTR Analyzes data using meeting room cameras to count the number of people in the room and if the count exceeds the capacity defined for the room by admin a warning message is displayed.

Coming soon: Coordinated meetings with Teams Room and Surface Hub using proximity or one-touch join this enables both devices join the meeting simultaneously with Teams Rooms running audio and video, while Surface Hub is automatically muted to avoid any distracting feedback. During the meeting Teams Room is used to show attendees in the meeting gallery, while the Surface Hub is used to show content or to conduct a collaborative whiteboarding session.

Another coming soon for in-room participants will be able to control Teams Room and collaboration bar devices using the Teams mobile app. The new room remote experience enables users to mute and unmute the room, adjust audio volume, turn cameras on and off, and exit the meeting. Wireless casting will be enabled to any Teams Room, collaboration bar, and Surface Hub. Beginning later this year, voice assistance will be enabled for Microsoft Teams Room devices, allowing in-room participants , in US, to ask Cortana to join and leave a meeting, and add a phone number or participant from the address book to a meeting. Read more from Meeting Room Experiences blog!

Intelligent speakers were also shown in demo sessions with mention they can identify who is speaking in the room and that information is used in Live Captions/meeting transcription to speaker attribution. Currently there isn’t much information available about these devices.

Microsoft Teams Panels is a new category of devices for Teams but we have seen similar panels from other vendors to be used with different solutions: these can be mounted outside a meeting room to easily view upcoming reservations, see availability or to reserve the space for example. Building Floor plan is a catchy new feature there to help booking a another space in the office using “Nearby rooms” feature to find a empty room.

This is expected to pair with Teams Room device but it will work standalone as well with ordinary meeting rooms. First panels will come out from Crestron and Yealink early next year.

🌟To help you get started with transforming your meetings rooms, Microsoft, with support from specialized meeting room partners (like Sulava – my employer! ), can help qualifying customers deploy two Microsoft Teams Rooms at no additional charge. Customers can learn more at or be in touch with us at Sulava directly. Beginning October 1st Teams Rooms will be added to the FastTrack benefits!

There are also lots of improvements to Teams Calling experience. First one is the upgrade to new Calling view and Collaborative Calling that connects a call queue to a channel in Teams. Users can work at the channel while taking calls in the queue.

Admin and Development news and announcements

Bulk policy assignment allows admins to apply policies in batched of up to 50K users.

Line-Of-Business (LOB) Teams app catalog with organizational branding.

🌟Enterprises want also keep the data secure. Customer Key support is coming to Microsoft Teams as well. It is similar to what is already in Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and OneDrive: adding a layer of encryption with organization’s own keys when data is at rest in Microsoft datacenters. Public preview starts at the end of this year.

Microsoft Graph API for Teams Data-Loss-Prevention (DLP) is rolling out. This allows developers to build apps that can listen to Teams messages in near-real time to enable DLP scenario implementations and it also allows applying DLP actions to Teams messages.

🌟Microsoft Graph API for Teams Export allows the export of Teams messages (1:1 and group chat) along with attachments like file links & stickers, emojis, GIFS and user at-mentions. API also supports polling daily Teams messages and allows archiving of deleted messages up to 30 days. This should help with various archiving scenarios.

Resource-Specific Consent (RSC) team owners are empowered to install an RSC-enabled app for their specific team and restrict the app’s scope and access to data to only that one team, without needing the global IT admin to provision access. RSC allows apps to create, rename and delete channels; read channel messages; create tabs; and read team membership and settings. RSC are now available on the Graph API beta and will become generally available soon.

Single sign-on (SSO) through Azure Active Directory for Teams apps. Developers can build their apps to sign-in their users using the same account they are using to sign into Microsoft Teams. SSO support for tabs is generally available and support for bots and messaging extensions are coming soon.

Updates to Adaptive Cards for Microsoft Teams include design improvements, universal actions and cards, contextual views, and security & compliance. Design improvements include full-width cards, information masking, and incoming webhook support. Microsoft 365 Security & Compliance capabilities are extended to Adaptive cards, including eDiscovery and information protection & governance. Coming soon / this year.

🌟Meetings extensibility with apps in meetings will allow developers be able to integrate their apps into Teams meetings and create scenarios that have deep awareness of the meeting context — including roster, roles, and permissions. I will explore this further because it enables to integrate meetings to be part of business processes via apps and also connect meetings to a context like customer, project or person in a new way. This will bring meetings to the next level in the experience that benefits from these capabilities. Great apps to integrate with meetings are, for example, polls – yes Polls!, CRM or human resources (interviews).  Generally available in October and there are more than 20 launch partners who have been integrating their apps to these new extensibility points already.

Read more from the blog post.

Power Platform in Teams highlights

🌟Power Apps and Power Virtual Agents are coming! Now in public preview, generally available release is estimated to roll out at the end of the year. These will include embedded Power Apps and Bot creation studios inside Teams. During spring 2020,when I started to discover amazing capabilities of Power Virtual Agents, I didn’t think that the intelligent conversational bot creation would become possible from within Teams! But of course the ability to create Power Apps, with relational datastores with rich data types, from Teams is even more important to businesses. Better together applies in this as well. And these solutions can be published to Teams app store to be used off the shelf or customized to specific needs. And the sugar on the top: Power Virtual Agent bots can identify the user who is interacting with them and thus allows personalized and user-context dialogue and actions.

With Power Apps for Teams it is possible to create innovative apps that interact with team in channel.

Read more from Power Apps blog post!

The new Power Automate app for Teams, coming later this year, is a rebranded and enhanced Flow app. It offers an enhanced set of templates to automate work in Teams, along with a new designer  experience that makes it even easier to get started building. Additionally, we will be rolling out new ways to automate work, including actions like creating a Teams meeting, as well as additional entry points such as message extensions and message actions.

And looks at these new Power Platform logos!

And it looks like the team has had some fun too! 😍😎😊

Approvals in Microsoft Teams via Power Automate will become generally available during October. This is great since it allows creation of approval processes based on a team and not a single person (who is often a bottle-neck).

Enhancements to the Power Bl App for Teams will make it easier to use and review Power BI data from Microsoft Teams. The new app rolls out by the end of year.

Something missing?

Read more from Microsoft TeamsPower Apps and other Microsoft blogs.

+ Virtual Hub

And there is always something more. This time it is the reminder to go ahead and visit the Virtual Hub!

This is the place where you can keep on learning and enjoying Microsoft Ignite for more. It is not just about Microsoft Teams but about all things Microsoft 365.

This blog was originally posted at My Teams & Office 365 Day

Vesku on toiminut yli 20 vuoden ajan erilaisissa asiantuntija-, konsultointi- ja valmennustehtävissä. Hän on Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional). Vesku on erikoistunut Office 365:n ja Microsoft Teamsin tarjoamiin modernin työn ratkaisuihin, mutta kokemusta löytyy monista erilaisista toimialoista ja teknologioista.

Get ready to travel the Microsoft Teams Road at Microsoft Ignite

The big big conference is just around the corner! Beginning in just TWO days it will be two days of exciting news, knowledge, keynotes, overviews and deep-dive sessions along with loads of interaction and community activities. Since #MSIgnite is virtual and free to attend this year (we all know why) Microsoft has taken extra steps to bring in more interactivity via Table Talk-sessions and Tech Community forum. There is also digital swag that can be enjoyed and used!

In this blog post I will focus the #MSIgnite : first on sessions and activities I am taking part of and then mostly on Teams-side to point out useful Teams references to you. If you haven’t registered yet then make it so as soon as possible and start building your Microsoft Ignite schedule:


My speaking and activities at Microsoft Ignite

This year community takes part of Ignite in various ways, but there isn’t any traditional “MVP and MCT lead sessions” this year. But looking the number of awesome community driven events happening around the globe you can hook into those by attending online conferences. For example #TeamsFest has 85 sessions with over 90 speakers from Microsoft and big number of MVPs as well. #TeamsFest happens on 7th of October in CEST timezone but early morning start enables people from APAC (or night owls in US) to join and at the late afternoon – end of day it will be morning in US. Check for more info at


Back to the topic at hand:

I will be doing two Table Talks with other MVPs and Microsoft speakers at Microsoft Ignite. You can sign up to them both from:

Table Topics are interactive panel discussion sessions and audience is encouraged to participate (yes, it is a Teams Meeting, capping with 300 participants) with questions and sharing their experiences! While the actual session is short (30 minutes) it is combined with Table Talk topics at Tech Community forum tables allowing audience to interact with speakers before and after the session – making these truly interactive way and one of the best ways to engage audience with speakers in a virtual conference. And personally I love this concept because it is how Teams Meetings should be done as in intelligent meeting lifecycle: pre, during and after meeting collaboration.


Microsoft 365 App Developers and Power Platform Community Meet-up

Meet people from the Microsoft 365 Developer and Power Platform communities to explore what you can do with our powers combined! Unmute yourself, turn your camera on – No presentations here! Your community peers will lead a discussion to help you uncover helpful tips on Microsoft Graph, Power Automate, SPFx, Azure Functions, Auth and more!

Join the Microsoft 365 Community Table ( ahead of time so we can address your questions.


Running Community Events in an Online World

Meet and share stories with fellow attendees in an open discussion using Teams Meetings about running online community events. Unmute yourself, turn your camera on – No presentations here! Your community peers will lead a discussion about topics such as running online events using Microsoft Teams, finding ways to interact with your virtual audience, best practices for accessible online events.

Join the ‘Community Best Practices & Leadership’ Community Table on the Tech Community ahead of time to catch up on the conversation beforehand.

Be prepared for chat and a fun interactive discussion!


Ask the Experts -sessions “Microsoft Teams Virtual Booths”

This is a list of confirmed Ask the Expert sessions where I am participating as a Subject Matter Expert. go ahead and add these to your Ignite schedule and hit us with questions! These sessions are kind of virtual Microsoft Teams booths. Last year I had lots of fun being at Teams booths and talking with people, helping them out and also learning myself something new as well. Don’t miss these ATEs!

Needless to say, but I say it anyway, that I am extremely honored and proud to be involved with Microsoft Ignite via Table Talks and ATE-sessions (virtual booth a so much better name for these).


Microsoft Teams at #MSIgnite

First the fun part: Microsoft Teams Virtual Photo Booth! You don’t want miss this one – you can create your own photo booth image by tuning your selfie with lots of fun stickers on top of it!

Go ahead and create your own at!

Guide to Microsoft Teams at Microsoft Ignite 2020:


Key sessions you don’t want to miss are:

This picks are directly from Teams Sessions Brochure that includes all Microsoft Teams related sessions (and there are many of them!)

Don’t also miss to check Patch & Switch Unofficial End User Guide to Ignite before the event. It is especially guided towards those who are attending digital Microsoft Ignite the first time.


Excited? YES!

I am as excited about Microsoft Ignite 2020 as much as I was when I attended Ignite 2019. This year is different but also it opens up lots of new possibilities to interact with the audience. No, it is not the same as meeting face-to-face but it should not be the purpose either. Digital / virtual world has it’s own strengths and superpowers and it should not try to replicate face-to-face world 1:1, instead – just like with Microsoft Teams – think about the goal and why so you can create a digital version of it. Just like in Digital Transformation: rethink and create a better version than what was in the real world earlier.

This year’s Microsoft Ignite is different since it allows a lot more people to attend the event around the world since the event is free and there is no need for traveling nor think about the cost of attending: inclusive. All key sessions are live for three times to include different timezones as well! This is great news for us not in US – we don’t have stay away all night.

Let’s meet at the Microsoft Ignite virtually! See you in Tech Community and in sessions! And don’t forget hashtags #MSIgnite and #MicrosoftTeams when you are posting something to social media! I will be mostly active in Twitter – see you there!

Vesku on toiminut yli 20 vuoden ajan erilaisissa asiantuntija-, konsultointi- ja valmennustehtävissä. Hän on Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional). Vesku on erikoistunut Office 365:n ja Microsoft Teamsin tarjoamiin modernin työn ratkaisuihin, mutta kokemusta löytyy monista erilaisista toimialoista ja teknologioista.

How to identify the benefits in change

When moving to another country with your family, you would hope that things go smoothly and settling down is easy. But if I look at the past 5 months, it has been anything but smooth. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the whole idea of doing normal stuff was thrown out of the window. Total lockdown during March and April, uncertainty of the future, and the fact that everything was delayed. These were the building blocks of our first months in Dubai and also, the first months of Sulava in the UAE. During our process of moving, we did some sort of a risk analysis (personal and business), but global pandemic was not on the list, to be honest.

These past months have really got me thinking about the thing called “change”. I know this word is somewhat a buzzword of our era, but I think it is for a reason. The thing is, however, that we usually do not fully grasp the details of the change, the drivers, or even the benefits that come with it. Or possible risks in our case. I do not say that we should examine and plan every single change that we are up against. But on strategic changes and the ones that could have a major impact our lives / business, we should understand certain elements.

Business and IT world is full of different frameworks and methodologies, and I am going to use one here too. But bear with me, this makes sense. The framework is called Benefits Management, and it was originally created by Cranfield University. It is a comprehensive model for mapping different elements of benefits and change.

Inside Benefits Management framework, there is one tool that I learned over 10 years ago and it has helped me on several occasions when planning IT investments or drawing the line between business goals and technology. That tool is called Benefits Dependency Network (BDN).

This tool can be used in most complex change projects but the basic idea is quite simple. I will guide you through the process.

Note: I added TL; DR (too long, did not read) section at the end for those who are in hurry.


    We start our thought process with DRIVERS, usually external and internal. Global market, environment, or legislative requirements can be examples of external drivers. Company mergers, difficulty of finding capable workforce, or outdated business model could be internal ones.


    These typically come from the organization’s strategy or scorecard. But in this context, the objectives should come from the identified drivers. So (in this example) when the driver for change is outdated business model, the objectives could be something like “New business model helps us to deliver products faster and gain market share in our new region”.


    In my example of drivers and objectives, the measurable benefits can be: 16 days faster time-to-market, calculated market share gain +4% YoY, customer satisfaction index +10%. These are tangible benefits with numerical value.
    There usually is that other side of the coin. We have now identified the benefits, but with what cost? And what are the risks? But let us not try to find obstacles and excuses to not make the change. This needs to be done, but not at this stage.


    Then we must identify the actual change or changes. If we want to have the benefits that we have calculated, what needs to be done? Now this is not the place where we should just throw words to the table without thinking. We need to find a real business / process / function / mindset / organizational change.

    With something new, there needs to be something that we stop doing or discontinue. No sense to build a new digital business model for sales and delivery, if the old processes or ways of working are things that we do not know how to let go. Or even DO not want to let go.


    What are the items that make the change possible? Now particularly in IT industry, this is the slot where we too easily state all the different new technologies and product names. Although I believe that the right technology can be (and often is) the engine for making the change possible, we still need the fuel to run that engine.

    Before we can identify what technology solution/application/platform is the one that we are deploying, we need to find the real enablers for the change. So ask yourself what we need to do to make that change happen.

Ok, we got answers to all the questions, now what? I believe that if you are able to answer all of these 5 questions and you see the solid connection all the way between the drivers and the enablers change, you will see two things.

  1. Our planned change is aligned with our objectives and drivers, and we can identify the benefits (and that the benefits exceeds the risks / costs. → We know what we want and why
  2. We can determine the change items and identify the things that will enable the change → We know how to do it

Now one last thing. This is a good way to justify decisions on both business and IT. We can present the IT programs in a way that business groups and business leaders understand. We are not taking new solutions or technology into use just for the sake of it. We do it because it has a direct impact on our business objectives. Secondly, we can help IT to understand the business requirements better.


When planning the change, identify Drivers, Objectives, Benefits, Change and Enablers for Change. This gives you a better understanding and view of the change. We get clarity on why we are changing, what we are trying to achieve and how do we do the change.

Senior Consultant. Tommilla on 20 vuoden kokemus IT-alalta. Digitalisaation hyödyntäminen liiketoiminnan kehityksessä, tietotyön kehittäminen, modernien työtapojen jalkauttaminen ja tehostaminen sekä uusien teknologioiden hyödyntäminen sekä hyötyjen mittaaminen ovat Tommin erityisosaamista.

Top 10 (+ 1 bonus) tips and tricks for successful Teams live events

Teams live events are streamed and scheduled one-to-many broadcasts with up to 10 000 (temporarily max is 20 000 until October 1, 2020) attendees whereas the maximum meeting attendees for regular Teams meeting is 300.

When considering the suitability of the live meeting for your need it is important to know that two way communication is achieved via Questions & Answers (Q&A) -functionality without two way audio or video possibility. Hence Teams live events can be utilized for example for large audience webinars, trainings, announcements or informative staff meetings. Live event producers and presenters require Teams desktop client. For producers and presenters Teams web client or mobile app is not supported.

There are many similarities but also subtle differences between regular Teams meeting and Teams live event. We have collected the top 10 tips and tricks (+ 1 bonus) for succesful Teams live events. We have concentrated on the most important nuances and tasks requiring your attention in order to deliver succesful live events.

For everyone

1 Practice makes perfect. I know it is a cliche but still this tip applies to even the most experienced Teams meeting expert there is. Invite a colleague or two and create a couple of practice Teams live events while rotating roles of organizer, producer, presenter and participant before your actual real live event with hundreds or thousands of attendees.

For organizer

2. Enable feedback channel with Q&A while scheduling the event. Most of the live events benefit from possibility of two way communication.

For producer

3. Learn the power of mute button. Producer can mute the presenters but producers can’t unmute them! It is important to realize that everything that is shared by voice during the live event is broadcasted to attendees. There is no private voice channel for production team. If private communication for production team is required the teams meeting chat is the only option. Make sure that everyone in production team reads meeting chat. Be clear and vocal when the broadcast is about to start.

4. Have Plan B and backup slide.

  • Have alternative internet connection i.e. 4G ready to use.
  • Problems with live picture? Create speaker slides. If there are any problems with the picture, you can show a slide “Now speaking..” with the speaker picture and name + title. You can also use these slides every now and then just to inform your users who is speaking in a big organization.

5. Create structure slides to show before the event and during breaks. “Event is starting at 08:00. Please wait” and “We are on break. Event will resume at 12:00”. This way you have something informative to share after starting the live feed but before the event has actually started and also during the breaks. The event attendees are informed what is happening and when. The leading slides can be trimmed from the recording afterwards with Stream.

6. Changing live video from one to another is not instant. It can sometimes take up to tens of seconds. Take this into account when planning your live event. Avoid really fast camera changes. You can also tackle this by using “now speaking” slides or by using third party encoder instead of Teams Live events default encoder.

7. Breath and stay calm during the live event. If live event deviates from the plan that is not the end of this live event nor does it ruin the attendee experience. In case something doesn’t go as scripted just recover and resume the live event. And remember whatever you do, do not end the live event prematurely! That is practically the only mistake you can’t recover from. Once live event has ended it is really over.

For presenter

8. Have patience and share you presentation only when it is your turn to give presentation. If you start sharing during other presentations and ignore the warning message you will interrupt the ongoing presentation.

9. Q&A: There is approximately 10 second delay between the presentation and attendee experience so keep that in mind when asking for attendees for questions.

For attendee

10. Enjoy the live event from desktop (no Teams client required) or mobile (app required). Use DVR (Digital Video Recorder) controls to rewind, pause and resume if necessary. Utilize automatic subtitles and translation if enabled by the live event organizer.

+1 bonus tip: Choose a quiet space for the whole duration of Teams live event where you won’t be interrupted. Otherwise you could share the fate of this gentleman Children interrupt BBC News interview – BBC News.

What’s new on Teams – welcome to our webinar!

Teams and Teams live events are constantly evolving and getting better and thus it might require some serious effort to keep oneselves up to date of all these improvements. For learning the theory and practicalities behind all these improvements I would recommend you to register and participate in Teams Spotlight webinar by hosted Microsoft MVP Vesa Nopanen. See you at the webinar at 1st of September!

Webinar in Finnish on the 4th of September

Writers: Tomi Kontio, Marko Rosberg

Consultant. Tomi on koulutukseltaan filosofian maisteri tietojenkäsittelytieteestä ohjelmistotekniikan koulutusohjelmasta. Aiempaa työkokemusta on yli 10 vuotta eri rooleista IT-projekteissa vastuualueina mm. digitaalisten palveluiden käyttöönotto ja jalkauttaminen organisaatiossa, palveluiden jatkuva kehittäminen ja ylläpito sekä loppukäyttäjien kouluttaminen. Projekteissa toimin asiakaslähtöisenä teknisenä konsulttina. Usein on tarpeellista toimia myös IT-Suomi-IT -sanakirjana eri sidosryhmien välillä. Sähköposti:

How to get Microsoft Teams Free for your organization

As we all know, COVID-19 is forcing people to stay inside, to work remotely and the world is facing situation we have not seen before. Now it’s definitely time to rethink remote work policies in every company. Luckily, the technology has been ahead of time, and we don’t have to invent new tools to manage remote work. If your company doesn’t already have Teams for employees working remotely, we have a solution for you – and by the way, it’s free.

Did you already know that there´s also a free version of Microsoft Teams?

Because Teams is a cloud-based application, you can get the benefits of it literally on any device at anytime, anywhere. You only need proper internet connection. The Teams Free doesn’t include all the features compared to paid Microsoft Teams. Anyhow, with free version of Teams you can support your team members and start to collaborate in online meetings, chats and channels.

Ok, how to get Microsoft Teams Free?

First you need to follow the link. Scroll down nearly to the bottom of the page until you see “Get Microsoft Teams for your organization today” and then click “sign up for free”.

teams free

After this, enter the email address you want to use for Teams. I recommend using your business email for this, if Teams is going to remain in use in your company. In the next section choose “for work”. Do not use “for friends and family”, it will sign you up in Skype. Teams is better than Skype, trust me!

Teams free start

teams freeAfter this you will have to insert other requested info (name, company name and country or region).

When you are done with these you can start to use Teams. I recommend you to download the application by following this link.

First step after downloading is to sign into Teams, and then invite people from your organization. Invite people by clicking “invite people” from the bottom left. After this you will have three options to invite people:


  • By sending the link provided by Teams manually to the people inside your organization
  • Invite people from your email contact list
  • Inviting people by adding email addresses to a form that opens by clicking “Invite by mail”

Teams free add users

After your done with these, I recommend you to check out this cool video made by Microsoft of how to get started with Teams Free. With Teams Free you can help your teams to accomplish more and faster with simple file sharing and online meetings—all accessible anywhere.

Now it’s your time to create a collaborative workspace for your employees and use channels to keep your team organized. Proper playbook and good ways of leading are the keys to situation where all the information needed is easy to find with the latest data available to everyone who needs them when using Teams. And this is the point where Sulava can help you to get all the benefits of Teams.

In my next blog, I will write more about why proper playbook is the key to success when using O365 and Teams.

Ossi Ågren

How to use Whiteboard efficiently in Teams meetings

When you need to collaborate in more visual way with your team, you want to take a look at Microsoft Whiteboard that is automatically available with every Teams meeting. Whiteboard is also a great meeting notes tool since you can write, ink and paste content to it. Not everyone knows what Whiteboard is capable of. You could be the Whiteboard Champion to guide people how to use this tool the best way.

Whiteboard can be used by several people at the same time. It is a true teamwork collaboration tool just like OneNote, Word, Excel or PowerPoint (& others) in the Office 365 toolbox. Co-authoring is very important, since it allows multiple people to enter their ideas, votes and creations to the same canvas at the same time. And it is inclusive since everyone sees the changes every other person did.

Whiteboard ruler

Whiteboard or OneNote?

If your collaboration is more text-based I advise to use OneNote. For more visual needs, free form planning or just because you have used to use the physical whiteboard you should start using Microsoft Whiteboard. And what is also great, the Whiteboard app used in Surface Hub is the same than the Windows Desktop app.

If you are good at drawing or possess sketching skills the more I recommend using Whiteboard for meeting notes as well. Both Whiteboard and OneNote has its strengths and downfalls so it is good to understand which tool works for your team/project and why and in which scenarios.
Formal meetings usually have meetings notes in OneNote (better structure, notes in one book) while Whiteboard is most often the virtual counterpart of physical whiteboard. However there are also more use cases for Whiteboard than just being a digital paper.

Currently within your organization only

Note: Whiteboard can be currently used within your organization only. You cannot share it to others for editing unless you all use consumer Microsoft Accounts (not advised).

You can share Whiteboard as ”view only” to externals in meeting by sharing your screen (share desktop) and dragging Whiteboard App to that shared screen. Participants can then see what you are sketching or applying to the board and can give feedback by voice/chat.
Whiteboard could be used instead of PowerPoint to present ideas and solutions to attendees and it doesn’t matter if they inside or outside of your organization.

Whiteboard app in Microsoft Store

Whiteboard app in Apple Store

Actions in the meeting invite

You can engage the Whiteboard already when you do the meeting invitation. It is a good practice to tell other attendees about the Whiteboard and do some preparations. On top of meeting agenda it is good to have a small checklist and a reminder where meetings notes will be in.
This is also a good moment to bring to your attention that the Teams meeting scheduler has been updated:

Recipient/attendee can now RVSP directly and visually from Calendar invitation in Teams, without having to take a trip to Outlook.

And meeting organizer can see directly who had accepted or not. You can change meeting timezone also from within Teams meeting dialog! This is a great addition that enables me to keep Outlook closed for even longer times & letting me to worry about emails when it is their time.

And as you can see in that picture, I can now access meeting Whiteboard as well -without opening the meeting first. This enables me to prepare the Whiteboard for the meeting.
Microsoft Teams Whiteboard view only has a few pens and erasers. However, we can take it to the next level by opening Microsoft Whiteboard app.

Whiteboard tools

Whiteboard is extremely usable for teamwork collaboration online. Learn which capabilities work the best and in which situation. And the tool will only get better – remember that it is one of the most important Surface Hub applications.

Whiteboard tools

When using the Whiteboard Desktop app, instead of just a few pens we have several pens and other tools like

  • marker / highlighter
  • eraser (remove any ink/drawing – doesn’t work to shapes)
  • ruler (draw straight lines)
  • lasso selection
  • Text (write text)
  • Notes (post-it notes)
  • Image menu (add from library, from Bing or take a picture using device camera)
  • List of tools
  • Undo
  • Redo

Compared to the physical whiteboard we have just gone interstellar!


One really great addition is Templates, which are in preview currently. Templates enable you to structure you meeting more and they typically have some text and different note grids that allow you to add notes to different containers.

It is good to note that some features (Templates, List and Notegrid) are not visible in Teams/Web/Android version of the Whiteboard. If you need to display your Whiteboard in Teams share (not using desktop sharing of Whiteboard app) then stick to non-preview features.

Embedding content

You can also easily embed selected slides/pages of documents into the Whiteboard. This is very useful if you have a RFP or specifications that are not going to change (no need to update) often but are good to be visible during the planning.

With the ruler you can draw straight lines and keep the ruler ”on the board” visible and easily usable until you toggle it off. You can move it around with just a one finger drag to move it in its place (or away) and use intuitively two fingers to change its angle. And yes – you can draw straight lines using it’s both sides.


Let’s take a look of some of the most useful settings.

The Whiteboard menu is somewhat different if you have an active pen on or off. Select the one you like the most.

Ink to shape allows you to draw squares/triangles/ellipses and Whiteboard app corrects them to look better.

Ink to table allows you to draw a table just by drawing a square and then start adding horizontal and vertical lines there to add more columns. If you in inside a cell it will automatically resize, however ink to shape is not active then. If you select the table you can also click on +/- to add/remove columns and rows.

You can also use Settings menu to post a link to Whiteboard to Teams channel. Just remember to add permissions too. Exporting Whiteboard allows you to export it as a image (png or svg).

Of course, don’t forget the format background to make Whiteboard your own looking.

In these times when we suddenly need to work remotely more than ever, it is a good idea to learn how to use digital counterparts of these tools we have used in physical meeting rooms. Let’s make the best out of this unfortunate event in human history and learn how to use tools so we can work even better than we did before. Perhaps it will be a result of these tides that drives the change for us to work more online in the future as well.

This article is a shortened version of my article “How to use Whiteboard in Teams meetings efficiently II”. See to it if you want to see more detailed info on how to do the activities mentioned here

If Whiteboard is new to you or your meeting participant, read my article How to use Whiteboard in Teams meetings to learn basics of the Whiteboard.

Embedding content

Whiteboard templates

Whiteboard table

Whiteboard background

Vesku on toiminut yli 20 vuoden ajan erilaisissa asiantuntija-, konsultointi- ja valmennustehtävissä. Hän on Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional). Vesku on erikoistunut Office 365:n ja Microsoft Teamsin tarjoamiin modernin työn ratkaisuihin, mutta kokemusta löytyy monista erilaisista toimialoista ja teknologioista.

Don’t just survive – our tips to normalize your life during the quarantine

Nobody disagrees that COVID-19 is something from our worst nightmares – there’s nothing fun about full hospitals and people losing their jobs and life savings. We should all do our part by staying at home and minimizing all social interactions. However, this doesn’t have to be boring or mentally burdening – in fact, you can keep most of your daily routines with fairly minor tweaks, not to mention finally getting those things done that you always wanted to but never got around to doing until now. Read some tips below and share yours in social media to help others!

Socializing while social distancing

Meeting your friends, extended family or connecting with lonely elderly people has never been this easy – no need to fix your schedules weeks in advance, travel or think of a reason to call someone you normally wouldn’t. During the quarantine it’s completely acceptable to suggest a video call to that relative or neighbor of yours you never normally talk to and the call doesn’t have to take more than 5 minutes to delight the both of you. Technically it’s no more difficult than having a normal phone call – for example with Microsoft Teams you can do neat video calls with others, and it’s available for any mobile device for free.

Going online can level up even those meetings you have with your best friends or closest colleagues! Take a quick game session in the afternoon to boost your energy levels before the last work tasks of the day. For example, Pictionary and other drawing games can be played with the white board feature of Teams and you can enjoy Trivial Pursuit with polls.

Also, watching reality shows and commenting them online is a surprisingly fun way to spend your evening with friends. Even house-warming parties and baby showers have been proven to work, with just a little bit of creativity.

Personal development

Have you always wanted to read more, join a book club, accomplish a certificate or two or perhaps start meditating? So have I! Now’s your perfect chance to make room for any goal in your daily schedule – that’s actually all it takes. Decide to go for a walk every morning, evening or during your lunch break and listed to an audio book, or start your every working day with 10 minutes of meditation. There are plenty of mobile apps available for both of these routines. You can make reading even more fun and motivating by setting up a monthly online book club meeting with your friends.

It goes without saying that during these times most seminars and trainings have also gone online, and now you can even participate in that one training that would have otherwise been too far away from you in terms of distance. Some of these might even be available for free now due to savings on venue, food etc.

Exercising and sports

Now that all the gyms are closed, you can save money and travel time by doing home exercises. Most gyms offer online classes for free or against a small fee. It’s super easy to arrange and join one also with Microsoft Teams and there’s practically no limit on the number of participants. Personally I have now fallen to yoga and mobility online, which I normally neglect in real life.

There are also numerous super cool apps and services available for specific sports online, like Zwift for running and cycling and Peloton for any cardio. And don’t forget about keeping it simple by walking and running outdoors!

Have a date night with your special one

One could easily assume that all the days are the same at home, but you can even arrange a date night with gigs, live music and fine dining without physically moving a meter. For instance, Helsingin Sanomat offers live ballet, opera and concerts online and your can party at Berliner underground clubs from the comfort of your couch.

Keep your local restaurants afloat and save yourself from cooking by ordering food for your date night. Even the nicest fine-dining restaurants now serve multi-course meals with home delivery to be enjoyed in candle light – and this can also be done online in case your date is in another location.

Smooth transition from Tinder to Teams

For singles, the quarantine can be harder or at least lonelier than for people surrounded by family or roommates. Just the thought of chatting in dating apps for months without meeting your promising candidate may sound quite burdening. But hey, not to worry! This can also be turned to your advantage by immediately suggesting an online date instead of just conversing in writing. This way you can more quickly see who really has the potential and is worth the wait throughout the quarantine.

To sum this up, there is practically nothing in real life you can’t keep on doing online. And you should, for the sake of your own mental health, for people around you, for economy and the whole society. See a clip from a Pictionary game we had with colleagues. The game was played in a Teams meeting using Whiteboard-function.

Playing Pictionary with Microsoft Teams

Karoliina Partanen (ent. Harjanne) toimii Sulavalla Chief Experience Officerina (CXO). Hän vastaa asiakaskokemuksen viemisestä uudelle tasolle niin tarjooman kuin asiakas- ja työntekijäkokemuksenkin näkökulmasta.

How to communicate internally in crisis using Microsoft Teams

Whenever a critical event or a crisis arise, questions inevitably come up about how to most effectively address your workers.

In the midst of the crisis, workers’ need for information is at its highest. Internal crisis communication has many functions such as:
– to create an overall picture of the situation
– to provide adequate information
– to ensure the community’s operational and business continuity
– to maintain the relationship of trust between the management and employees
– to interact with management and employees on an ongoing basis.

If internal communication is not working properly, crisis can increase uncertainty, insecurity and loneliness. Right now, only effective communication reaches those who normally talk to acquaintances at workplace, cafes, or hobbies.

It is also important to maintain a good spirit and a strong community. Building and securing a working community is increasingly dependent on up-to-date communication.

Where can all this communication be done without face-to-face interactions?

Regardless of geography or industry, common challenges all organizations face when responding to crises are:
– how to share real-time information and
– how to provide a platform for remote employees and also those who don’t work with desktops?

With Microsoft Teams Crisis Communication App you can provide employees a single portal to help ensure they are equipped with recommendations from global health authorities, topical news and the latest information from government officials and experts.

In Teams, you can also share company specific content such as relevant contacts, company news and links to support channels to employees. Additionally, users can easily share their individual work status (such as working from home or out of the office) with their teams, and even automatically send help requests to a dedicated channel in Teams. The app is easy to find in Teams and that can be used on the web, mobile or in Teams. You can use the app to push news and updates to your organization. The app includes ability to add RSS feeds of up-to-date information from reputable sources.

At Teams Crisis App you can for example

  • Have pre-listed standard answers to employees how to answer customers frequently asked questions and clear instructions on how they should act.
  • Share internal news
  • Continuity plan updates and active operations on daily basis
  • Keep support channels available (including those outside the company)
  • Links to more information source
  • Consistent messaging, communications and sharing of responsibilities.

Watch Vesa Nopanen’s demo about Teams Crisis Communication App. Sulava can help you to rollout Crisis App to your organization. Contact

Crisis Communication using Microsoft Teams

How to move your meetings online using Microsoft Teams?

Do you have a meeting that was supposed to happen face to face and now you need to organize it or participate to it Online?

If Microsoft Teams is completely or relatively new to you, see the recording of Microsoft MVP Vesa Nopanen’s webinar full of tips, tricks and best practices!

1. You have received a Teams invitation. What to do before the meeting? How to get started and join?
2. How to organize and facilitate a successful Microsoft Teams meeting?
3. Collaboration in Teams meetings (e.g. taking notes, sharing and whiteboard functions)
4. Best practices for using Teams to meetings
5. Tips and hints for remote working and for crisis communication in Teams

See the recording


Teams tarjoaa yhteisen työskentelytilan, paikan yhteisten tietojen säilyttämiseen, kommunikointiin ja muistiinpanojen jakamiseen. Teams nopeuttaa työskentelyä ja vähentää turhat sähköpostit.

Katso webinaarin nauhoite! Kuulet, miten Microsoft Teams-työtila osana Office 365:sta tehostaa ja helpottaa tiimiesi työskentelyä.


Teams – mistä on kyse
Tiimit ja kanavat
Tiedostot Teamsissa
Tehtävienhallinta ja muistiinpanot
Keskustelujen seuraaminen

Katso tallenne


Elise Passiniemi, Senior Consultant, has almost 15 years of experience in building user-oriented and usability-driven online services in various organizations. Her passion is modern working tools Teams and Yammer and how they can contribute to achieve organizational strategy and business goals.


Tuulia Halttunen. Senior Consultant. Tuulia has a strong background as a communications specialist, and she thinks that effective internal communication is the key to shine out to customers as well. She helps clients with developing internal communications and modern information work, communicating and implementing change and how to utilize Office 365, SharePoint and Teams.

6+ best practices for team leaders – how to lead, communicate, brainstorm and keep on track when working remotely

Modern tools offer help for team leaders. With the right tools and best practices, you can make sure that your team can work effectively from anywhere, anytime. As a team leader you can facilitate your team´s work by the following and these tips will help you as a team leader as well as your team members.

In this blog, you will learn for example:
– Best tips on how to communicate, work and set up video meetings
– How to brainstorm and make notes online
– How to keep on track with your team members
– How to stay connected even when working remotely
– Why to take care and consider how your team works online

Of course, you can adapt these practices to fit your organization, but these are the ones that we have found to be effective and want to share with you! Now, let´s get started!

1. Communicate and work in Teams

Make sure you have a teamspace in Teams where you work with your team. This team includes all project team members and stakeholders, for example. You have channels where you can focus on specific topics so everything in there shares the same context. All important links are in channels as tabs. This is the basic setup and you start building on those.

  • Agree that everyone in the team uses Teams. Teams client stays open, email can stay closed.
  • Every file you work on is in Teams files, under appropriate channel. No one should have files in their OneDrive nor on their hard drive. Everything is transparent by default. This is important to allow true teamwork here: everyone has access to the same information, files and can pick up the work from there.
  • Co-author files (edit the same file together at the same time) – don’t create new file copies: work on the same file.
  • Don’t send any emails to your team. Instead, write messages to team’s channels. This way everyone in the team can stay up to date and knows better what is happening. Nobody has to spend extra time asking same questions or wondering what is going on.
  • Don’t start a new thread every time in Teams: use reply. It is there.
  • Private chat in Teams should be only used to private conversations that don’t add any value to anyone else. Keep all team related discussions in team channels.
  • Use Do Not Disturb mode in Teams when you need to concentrate. You can allow specific persons to get through that mode. This is useful if you need to work in a small team but everyone else must wait.
  • Use desktop version of Office applications rather than web versions. And when you are on the road, the mobile app keeps you up to date.
  • When files are in Teams they can be accessed anywhere and with mobile devices. Files can be co-authored when they are in Teams (actually SharePoint but let’s keep that away from this post): it is much more productive.

The best practice how to get this started is to have a short meeting with everyone and explain why this is important.

2. Best tips on setting up a video meeting in Teams

Teams meetings are great, since they work very well and are easy to start and join. Here are best tips on how to set up and use Teams for video meetings. But first, let´s tackle a few questions that some of you might have.

Yes, you can invite customers or partners to meetings as well.
And no, they don’t need to have Teams. Teams meeting can be joined with just a link and using Chrome or Edge browser. If they are using tablets (Apple iPad for example) they need to have a Teams app installed but they don’t have to be logged in to join a meeting.

Okay – how can you make the most of meetings with video?

  • Always add a Teams meeting to every calendar invite you create. This way you can use Team’s superpowers before or after the meeting (chat, sharing): Team’s meeting lifecycle is much longer than traditional meeting has. What this especially allows is to make instant changes if someone is attending online or not. If the Teams meeting is already there you save the trouble of updating the calendar invite… and usually time too.
  • Make sure everyone knows how to use Team’s device settings so they get the audio working right away. If you are using Skype for Business (still) it usually “steals” the audio device for itself: shut it down.
  • Use certified Skype for Business or Teams devices, if possible. This ensures the device works the best with Teams. Instead of having issues with Bluetooth using devices that connect to USB (dongle or wired) are more reliable in meetings. The audio is the most important part: if it doesn’t work the meeting experience is far away from pleasant.
  • Use video in meetings, unless you have severe bandwidth issues. Background blur makes it more pleasant to be in the meeting. When video is used, the overall experience is much better and closer to real meeting. And on bonus: displaying video also increases concentration since people will multitask less.
  • When sharing a screen in a meeting take advantage of second screen if you have one. Sharing a whole screen is easier to manage than picking up a single app or presentation. Just make sure you are displaying only the content other attendees are allowed to see.

And of course, your headset matters. I use a headset that has an active noise cancellation (ANC) which is important if you are not alone. The other great feature is that the headset also reduces noise that is heard to other meeting participants – making your voice more clear and the meeting experience better.

3. How to brainstorm and make notes online?

There are two excellent applications for brainstorming and note keeping in Office 365: OneNote and Whiteboard. Both have Windows store versions (install them). Some people prefer the older OneNote desktop version – which is fine as well. Whiteboard is great for brainstorming and planning as a replacement to traditional paper and pen flip-board, especially if you can use pen and touch-screen to draw.

Something to note:

  • Whiteboard works only on organization internal meetings (let’s not get onto tricks).
  • OneNote can be shared externally as well (be careful!)
  • OneNote is better for notes and minutes, while whiteboard excels at drawing and planning part
  • Both support co-authoring: several people can edit the same canvas at the same time
  • OneNote file is stored in the team.
  • Don’t use your personal OneNote.. Use one that is in a team so everything is shared on default with your colleagues. That is true teamwork: don’t do solo work.

4. Keep on track with Planner and To Do

As a team you want to stay on track how tasks are progressing. Team Planner board is a excellent tool for that. You can organize tasks in buckets and it will make your work more transparent. Assign tasks to responsible persons and give them a schedule/deadline.

Here are best tips for keeping on track:

  • Everyone should also use To Do application on both laptop and mobile.
  • Check from To Do settings that you get Planner tasks assigned to you to Microsoft To Do.
  • Use buckets to organize tasks and get a better understanding on how you are progressing.
  • Create new Planner boards to team if you have different contexts. Using a single board makes overview of progress easy to follow.
  • There is an upcoming Teams Tasks application that will help everyone to get a better overall view and task management.

5. Stay connected via mobile

Don’t forget, that there are amazing mobile applications that support working anywhere.

  • Installing Teams application to your mobile, company owned and/or your personal devices, allows you to be responsive and up to date even when you are not on your computer.
  • I also recommend to install OneDrive application so you can access to your files using your mobile device.
  • You can of course install Teams to tablets (Android, iOS) as well to benefit of the larger screen.

6. Take care of yourself and your team

When working from home, it doesn’t mean you are working 24/7. Teams mobile has Quiet Hours that will mute it’s notifications, Teams has Do Not Disturb mode when you need to focus or you have a situation when you can’t answer to calls nor messages.

Remember also to:

  • Take a short walk if you loose your focus and you seem to be jammed. Working anywhere needs breaks too. Step away from your “office”. Make some coffee, enjoy the outside scenery. Relax your mind.
  • Don’t be afraid to message to call your colleague. However, respect their status in Teams.
  • Don’t be afraid to put yourself to Do Not Disturb mode.

We hope these tips help you and your team to work effectively online! If you have any questions or need help, please don´t hesitate to contact us!

Teksti: Vesa Nopanen & Tuulia Halttunen

How to move your meetings online using Microsoft Teams?

Do you have a meeting that was supposed to happen face to face and now you need to organize it or participate to it Online?

If Microsoft Teams is completely or relatively new to you, see the recording of Microsoft MVP Vesa Nopanen’s webinar full of tips, tricks and best practices!

1. You have received a Teams invitation. What to do before the meeting? How to get started and join?
2. How to organize and facilitate a successful Microsoft Teams meeting?
3. Collaboration in Teams meetings (e.g. taking notes, sharing and whiteboard functions)
4. Best practices for using Teams to meetings
5. Tips and hints for remote working and for crisis communication in Teams

See the recording


Teams tarjoaa yhteisen työskentelytilan, paikan yhteisten tietojen säilyttämiseen, kommunikointiin ja muistiinpanojen jakamiseen. Teams nopeuttaa työskentelyä ja vähentää turhat sähköpostit.

Katso webinaarin nauhoite! Kuulet, miten Microsoft Teams-työtila osana Office 365:sta tehostaa ja helpottaa tiimiesi työskentelyä.


Teams – mistä on kyse
Tiimit ja kanavat
Tiedostot Teamsissa
Tehtävienhallinta ja muistiinpanot
Keskustelujen seuraaminen

Katso tallenne

Vesku on toiminut yli 20 vuoden ajan erilaisissa asiantuntija-, konsultointi- ja valmennustehtävissä. Hän on Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional). Vesku on erikoistunut Office 365:n ja Microsoft Teamsin tarjoamiin modernin työn ratkaisuihin, mutta kokemusta löytyy monista erilaisista toimialoista ja teknologioista.

How to work from home – 10 best practices and tips for working remotely during the coronavirus crisis

Working anywhere is one of the most common topics these days. Suddenly meetings that have been face to face are now happening Online. The brainstorming session you were supposed to have with six other project members is not happening in the office either since one of those members just returned from Northern Italy and there has been a wise decision to limit exposure. And the situation globally is more or less similar – travelling is restricted and face to face meetings are rarer than ever before.

This doesn’t mean however that everything should stop – instead you can start working from anywhere and use best practices in your team, your unit and in your organization how to take advantage of Modern Teamwork and utilize Microsoft Teams for effect.

Some organizations were ready for this sudden turnaround, but unfortunately most were not.
In this article I am sharing some easy best practices how to get started.


My personal “how I work in a modern way”:

1. Share and show

  • Everything I do – I do in Teams. I don’t send email to team members – I even don’t have email open all the time. Everything I do is shared automatically, since all my files, messages and notes are in Teams in appropriate teamspaces. I don’t use my OneDrive for work documents – that should be teams. Work transparency is my guideline.
  • Co-authoring on documents is my default. I don’t create my own copies.
  • Use Planner for team’s tasks. Mark tasks to responsible persons. And make sure you – and everyone else – follows up on tasks.
  • Use To Do to your personal tasks. Check the setting that you get Planner tasks assigned to you into your To Do. Use the mobile app as well – it is fantastic!


2. Go straight to the point

  • Teams messages and chat is persistent. The receiver doesn’t have to be online. Don’t just write “hi” but instead write also what is the issue why you are reaching out. That way they can answer when they have a good slot for that.
  • Don’t be afraid to message or call your colleague. However respect their status in Teams.


3. Use Teams features for effect

  • Manage your notifications, pin channels, show and hide teams and channels, reply to conversation threads – learn the basics of your tool.
  • Use Do not disturb when you need to focus. You can also work in a small team with this efficiently by allowing a selected few to bypass your DND status and call & message you despite that.
  • Respect working hours. Don’t assume others work 24/7 either. I usually drop in Teams messages and questions when the time suits me but I don’t expect to get an answer right away. If you have an urgent matter: don’t just rely on messages even with important flag.


4. Add a Teams meeting to every calendar invite

  • That way you can meet in Teams easily even if there are sudden changes.
  • It also allows you to have a chat conversation before and after the meeting so you can make the meeting more efficient.


5. Before the meeting

  • Learn Teams meeting controls and device settings. Use test call feature to test your setup before the meeting if you are unsure. That way your meetings can start and be productive from the minute one.
  • Be a few minutes early in the meeting, rather than a few minutes late. When you are booking meetings make them 25 or 50 minutes long – instead of scheduling back-to-back meetings.
  • Pay attention to your headset you are using. Those connected with dongle (usually Skype or Teams certified devices) have a more reliable connection than just Bluetooth. If the audio doesn’t work in meetings the whole meeting experience is bad and it won’t inspire creativity.


6. In meetings: Make the most of Teams features

• Use your camera in Teams meetings: turn it on. Be face to face even when you are working in different locations.
• Facilitate meetings in Teams so everyone gets their voice and opinion out. Use chat and calling. The most difficult meeting is that when most of the people are in one room and a few others are online. Respect everyone.
• Pay attention what is shown online: if you are drawing to a legacy whiteboard in the room people online won’t most likely see it (Content Camera in Teams Rooms would fix that!) . Use Office app to take a photo of that drawing and upload it to a team.


7. How to make notes and save information

• Put all your notes to OneNote in your team. Don’t keep personal notebook for team meetings – it is teamwork after all.
• Record meetings so those who didn’t attend can review them if needed. Or in case you need to fill in blanks for meeting notes. Teams transliteration make even text searches possible for those attending the meeting later.
• Microsoft Whiteboard is an awesome application to brainstorming or taking notes. However, it only works inside your organization – you can’t use this if you have customers or partners in the meeting (not easily anyway).
• OneNote is a great tool for taking notes and brainstorming as well. The benefit over Whiteboard is that you can share OneNote to external users as well if your organization allows that.


8. Keep it effective – people need breaks online, too

• Don’t do a full 5 hour workshop in one Online sitting. Have breaks. Having two 1,5 hour workshops with a break is usually much more effective.
• Take care of yourself: Take a short walk, swim, gym, run or other activity if you loose your focus and you seem to be jammed. Working anywhere needs breaks too. Step away from your “office”. Make some coffee, enjoy the outside scenery. Relax your mind.


9. Work on the go

• Use Teams, OneDrive and other Office 365 mobile apps. They make it possible for you to attend meeting while in a walk – for example. This works especially well if you have a headset that cancels your ambient noise to other attendees (I have Evolve Jabra 65t and Elite 85h headsets that both do this).
• Take your files on the go with OneDrive Sync. That makes your life easier – especially if you are out of network.


10. Emergency and crisis communication in Teams

• Bring your emergency and crisis communication to Microsoft Teams too. Teams is the Hub for work and open all the time for many people – either in desktop or in their mobile device.
• You can use automated personal messages to users, priority messages and custom apps in Teams to make sure your crisis communication reached everyone in time.

Written by: Vesa Nopanen & Tuulia Halttunen


How to move your meetings online using Microsoft Teams?

Do you have a meeting that was supposed to happen face to face and now you need to organize it or participate to it Online?

If Microsoft Teams is completely or relatively new to you, see the recording of Microsoft MVP Vesa Nopanen’s webinar full of tips, tricks and best practices!

1. You have received a Teams invitation. What to do before the meeting? How to get started and join?
2. How to organize and facilitate a successful Microsoft Teams meeting?
3. Collaboration in Teams meetings (e.g. taking notes, sharing and whiteboard functions)
4. Best practices for using Teams to meetings
5. Tips and hints for remote working and for crisis communication in Teams

See the recording


Teams tarjoaa yhteisen työskentelytilan, paikan yhteisten tietojen säilyttämiseen, kommunikointiin ja muistiinpanojen jakamiseen. Teams nopeuttaa työskentelyä ja vähentää turhat sähköpostit.

Katso webinaarin nauhoite! Kuulet, miten Microsoft Teams-työtila osana Office 365:sta tehostaa ja helpottaa tiimiesi työskentelyä.


Teams – mistä on kyse
Tiimit ja kanavat
Tiedostot Teamsissa
Tehtävienhallinta ja muistiinpanot
Keskustelujen seuraaminen

Katso tallenne

Vesku on toiminut yli 20 vuoden ajan erilaisissa asiantuntija-, konsultointi- ja valmennustehtävissä. Hän on Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional). Vesku on erikoistunut Office 365:n ja Microsoft Teamsin tarjoamiin modernin työn ratkaisuihin, mutta kokemusta löytyy monista erilaisista toimialoista ja teknologioista.


It’s About Time: Rethink Your Remote Work Policies

After the break of the novel coronavirus the reactions across the globe have been strong. There are limitations in travel and multiple large events have been cancelled. There was no Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and there will be Microsoft MVP Summit in Redmond later in March (that event will now be held online, which actually underlines the benefits of modern collaboration tools).

And things are getting more serious day by day. Now Italy has quarantined up to 16 million people in Northern Italy. United Arab Emirates closed all their schools starting from Sunday to stop the virus. In Finland there’s also a school closed and others with some students in quarantine.

This is a post that is not fun to write because of all the health worries across the globe. People are worried and the coronavirus and the effects are still relatively unknown. But that is also the reason I need to write this. It is time to consider where the change is needed regarding the policies when new collaboration tools make it possible to work regardless of place and time. It’s not necessary to stop working, studying and communicating with other people during these extraordinary times.

Many companies have already published new policies regarding working from home or sick leaves. Microsoft, for example, is recommending that those who are feeling sick, have a compromised immune system, or have had contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 (the disease caused by the novel coronavirus) should work from home.

It doesn’t have to be a coronavirus. Diseases like regular seasonal flu and influenza also spread easily when you’re starting to feel the symptoms. Or if your children are sick and you need to be at home with them. It’s usually better for yourself and better for the others to be away from the office in those situations.

Do Anything Anywhere

Hopefully the spread of coronavirus will slow down and eventually we don’t have to worry about the unknown anymore.

But maybe this will make more companies rethink their policies regarding remote work, even after the initial impact of the virus is gone. Because honestly, nowadays you can do most things working from anywhere. Most of the corporate policies regarding remote work are cultural and trust issues that date back to days when you couldn’t actually do everything everywhere.

There are huge benefits from working remotely. Most people tell they are able to concentrate better while working somewhere else than the office. You save the commute time which can accumulate to multiple hours a week. And remote work is more effective. There’s a Harvard Business Review article that suggests that the production increase from remote work is remarkable and worth billions of dollars.

Nowadays working remotely is super easy. If your company has already Office 365 and especially Teams in use, you can really do teamwork regardless of your location.
You don’t have to work from home, you can be anywhere. The only important necessity is the Internet connection.

Now It’s Time to Try the Tools for Free

And if your organization doesn’t have Teams in use, Microsoft is doing its part to help. It’s offering a six-month free premium trial of Teams and Office 365. The free version of Teams is somewhat limited in features and the premium version has better calling and meeting features. That is something every company should think of right now. It’s really important to have modern collaboration tools in place.

And it’s not only about Teams and Microsoft. Other corporations, such as Cisco and Google, are also giving their tools for free.

Be safe, and work remotely if necessary.

How to move your meetings online using Microsoft Teams?

Do you have a meeting that was supposed to happen face to face and now you need to organize it or participate to it Online?

If Microsoft Teams is completely or relatively new to you, see the recording of Microsoft MVP Vesa Nopanen’s webinar full of tips, tricks and best practices!

1. You have received a Teams invitation. What to do before the meeting? How to get started and join?
2. How to organize and facilitate a successful Microsoft Teams meeting?
3. Collaboration in Teams meetings (e.g. taking notes, sharing and whiteboard functions)
4. Best practices for using Teams to meetings
5. Tips and hints for remote working and for crisis communication in Teams

See the recording


Teams tarjoaa yhteisen työskentelytilan, paikan yhteisten tietojen säilyttämiseen, kommunikointiin ja muistiinpanojen jakamiseen. Teams nopeuttaa työskentelyä ja vähentää turhat sähköpostit.

Katso webinaarin nauhoite! Kuulet, miten Microsoft Teams-työtila osana Office 365:sta tehostaa ja helpottaa tiimiesi työskentelyä.


Teams – mistä on kyse
Tiimit ja kanavat
Tiedostot Teamsissa
Tehtävienhallinta ja muistiinpanot
Keskustelujen seuraaminen

Katso tallenne

Mikko Torikka

Mikko Torikka on työskennellyt asiantuntijaorganisaation esimies- ja johtotehtävissä yli kymmenen vuoden ajan. Hänellä laaja kokonaisnäkemus suomalaisyritysten digitalisaatiosta ja muutosten läpiviennistä, tuotekehityksestä sekä ketteristä menetelmistä. Mikko tuntee suomalaisen tietohallintokentän, ja ymmärtää hyvin teknisten ratkaisujen merkityksen liiketoiminnalle ja työntekijäkokemukselle.

What you need to know about Microsoft Teams Shifts

Shifts is a fairly new feature within Microsoft Teams; although it must feel very familiar to those who have previously used Microsoft StaffHub which is retiring this October. Shifts replaces StaffHub, and just like its predecessor, Shifts is targeted for first-line workers and their managers. In practice, Shifts can be used by, for example, hospital staff, factory workers, truck drivers, IT support or any kind of customer service personnel; basically whenever scheduling work shifts is required:

  • There are long opening hours → several shifts per day are required, or
  • The employees have a flexible work description → not every day consists of the same tasks.

Even though the feature has been a part of Teams for a while now, not that many have actually used it or know much about it. And that is exactly why I decided to write this blog post! Hopefully you’ll learn a lot, and do leave a comment if any questions arise which currently don’t get answered.

Get your Shifts together!

First things first: How do we get to Shifts? First-line workers will see Shifts immediately in Teams among the pinned apps on the left-hand side. Others will find it under the three dots by default.

Teams Shifts location

To make Shifts visible to users immediately, a Teams admin can add them to the FirstLineWorker app policy either via PowerShell or by going to the Microsoft Teams admin center, expanding Teams apps, selecting Setup policies, and adding members to the app policy. Alternatively, the admin can pin the Shifts app for other types of employees as well by adding Shifts to the Global (Org-wide default) app setup policy.

Shifts is also available through the Teams mobile app. There you can find it under More apps. The GUI is simple to use by the workers, which is great. Managers, however, require the desktop view when planning future schedules.

Only one schedule per team

The Shifts feature is always tied to a team in Teams. Every team in Teams can have one schedule in Shifts. The team owners are the managers in Shifts, and they can create schedules to be shared with the members of the team. Note that guests can’t use Shifts at least for the time being.

When you click on the Shifts icon, three things can happen:

  • If you are an owner of at least one team, but none of those yet have a Shifts schedule, you are presented with an option to create a schedule for one of the teams you own.
  • If you are not an owner in any team, and none of the teams you are a member of have a Shifts schedule yet, you’ll see a message “It looks like there aren’t any team schedules for you yet”.
  • If there exists a Shifts schedule for at least one of the teams you are an owner or a member of, you’ll get directed to that schedule. If there are multiple schedules available, the most recent one you viewed is displayed. If you’ve never been to Shifts before, you’ll see a list where you can choose which team schedule you want to view as your very first Shifts schedule ever.

When you have access to at least one schedule, you can open a list of all of your schedules and switch between them via the “hamburger” menu in the top left corner of Shifts. In the same view, you can also find the New schedule link for adding Shifts schedules for your other teams. Now you’ll hopefully find your way around.

There is currently no way to delete a schedule once it has been created, so your decision will be final for the time being. According to UserVoice, the feature is planned to be implemented sometime in the future.

Get organized with scheduling groups

Even though a team can only have one schedule, a schedule can have a seemingly infinite number of groups. A simple schedule can have only one group, but if there is a need for several categories or sections, e.g., stores, groups can support that need.

When you create shifts, you always need create them for one group in the schedule. You can’t move shifts between the groups. You can copy the basic shift if you make a mistake, or want to create similar shifts for several groups in the schedule, but if you have added activities on the shift, those will not be included. However, if you copy entire schedules, then activities are also copied. More about this later.

Teams Shifts overview


Creating shifts: aim for a lot of information at a glance though colors and codes

You have the following options when creating shifts:

  • Start and end date and time of the shift
  • Is the shift open or assigned to someone?
  • If you are creating an open shift, you can choose the number of slots. This means multiple copies of the same shift are created for the same time slot, and those can be assigned to different people who are working at the same time, doing the same kind of a shift.
  • A custom label/title to be shown in the schedule view (if left empty, the shift time is shown)
  • The length of an optional unpaid break
  • A note field for any information you might want to include on the shift.
  • A list of sub-activities during the shift
  • The shift color! Decide a color for each different type of shift and you get a nice color-coded schedule for easy viewing.

Teams Shifts shift overview

For (sub)activities, you can specify:

  • A descriptive activity name
  • Start and end time of the activity
  • A two character code shown on the parent shift → helps checking when to do each subtask
  • You can also color code the different types of activities to make viewing shift contents and schedule easier.
  • Whether the activity is paid or not. For example, lunch could be added as an activity and then set as not paid.

Teams Shifts shift activities

Assigning shifts – not as straight forward as you may think

As mentioned, you can create a shift to be an open shift (to be assigned later), or create it directly for a person (this is currently the only option in the mobile app). Before you can assign a shift to a user, you need to add them to the same group where you have or are planning to create the shift.

Adding members to schedule groups is not limited to just the members of the team. If you add someone else than a team member to a schedule group, they automatically become a team member with no extra warning. Members can see all groups and published shifts in the schedule; they are not limited to only the groups they’ve been added to. If you want to reassign a shift from one person to another, you first need to move the shift to Open shifts and then reassign it.

Small nuggets you might easily miss(understand)

Just like you can add shifts, you can also allocate time off for the employees. There are several out-of-the-box reasons for time off, and you can also add your own. You only need to assign time off once per employee: the time will be blocked out for the user in all groups within the schedule. However, if the employee is a member of several teams, the booked time off will not be visible in those other teams. This makes it possible to book “time off” for an employee in one team if they temporarily move to work in another.

Managers can first work with draft versions of the shifts and then publish them for everyone to see when they are finished. This draft → publish process happens every time changes are made to the shifts. While working with a draft, managers can switch to the view that contains the most recently published versions of the shifts via the three dots next to the Share with team button, if needed. The important thing to understand here is that the whole schedule is not a draft, the individual shifts are.

The currently visible schedule view can be printed and exported as an excel file. The view can be a day, a week or a month.

I already mentioned earlier that you can copy shifts. Better than that, you can also copy entire schedules. In practice this means that you copy all shifts between certain dates to another time span within the same team schedule. You can choose to copy as many consecutive days as you want, whether it is a day, a week, a month, a year, even more or in between. The time spans can also overlap. In addition, you can specify what information you want to include and leave out. Unlike when copying individual shifts, copying schedules retains the activities, if the option is checked. I’m hoping activities will be included when copying individual shifts in the future, as it is always easier to delete activities you don’t need than recreate the ones you do.

Teams Shifts copy schedule


Other features: requests & time clocking

In addition to creating and viewing schedules, there are also a few other features you should be aware of:

  • Team members can request time-off, and team owners can either approve or deny those requests. Approved time-off is blocked for the user in the schedule automatically.
  • A team member can suggest to swap one of their shifts with one of another employee’s shifts within the same schedule. The co-worker then either denies or approves the request. The other shift doesn’t need to be in the same group, and the people involved don’t need to be members in both groups. If the swap is approved by the other employee, a manager is asked to approve the swap as the final step. If the users were not yet members in the other scheduling groups, they are now automatically added. This is not a security concern as team members can see all the scheduling groups and shifts anyway even if they are not members in the groups.
  • Team members can also simply offer one of their shifts to another team member without getting a shift in return. The approval process works the same way as for shift swaps.
    All of these features can be enabled or disabled.

There is also a new time clocking feature in Shifts that allows members to track their hours. The feature is not enabled by default, and you need to set it up for the team via schedule settings. In addition to tracking the time, you can also enable location detection, which requires the user to be at certain coordinates when starting and stopping their timer.

This feature can be used only via the mobile app. In addition to just starting and stopping the work timer, they can also start additional break timers, and manually edit the logged hours after stopping the main timer. If a person, e.g., always forgets to stop the work timer, they might prefer to track their hours completely manually which is also possible.

What’s next

If you managed to read this far, you should be aware of all the capabilities in Shifts; congratulations! Now you may be wondering: Hmm, we could definitely benefit from using shifts, but we have these business processes that would need to be integrated to it. Is that possible? Microsoft Graph offers us programmatic access to the data within Shifts, which means that we are able to create and manage schedules, groups, shifts etc. automatically. If you are interested in reading more, check out another one of my blog posts in my personal tech blog for more information!

I hope you enjoyed reading this article and learned something new! If you have any questions or comments about this topic, please let me know. Thank you for reading and until next time!

Microsoft MVP. Laura työskentelee Sulavalla sovelluskehittäjänä. Laura on työskennellyt SharePoint-ympäristöjen parissa vuodesta 2011 lähtien, keskittyen räätälöintien ja integraatioiden toteutukseen sekä ympäristöjen ylläpitoon. Nykyään Laura toteuttaa ratkaisuja myös O365- ja Azure-ympäristöihin, rakentaen monipuolisesti niin erilaisia räätälöintejä, integraatioita kuin kokonaisia web applikaatioita.