For most businesses, boosting employee productivity and increasing collaboration – while also reducing the number of and duration of meetings – sounds awfully appealing. The good news is that with the right tools, this is a realistic objective.

Improving communication and collaboration across organizations is a major component of digital business transformation initiatives, notes Forrester Research1. In a recent study on the Total Economic Impact of Microsoft Teams, they identified the three top business objectives in a survey of 260 companies.

  1. Increasing productivity
  2. Improving cross-company collaboration
  3. Enabling innovation

Clearly, innovation will follow when employees have the tools they need to communicate and collaborate effectively. That helps explain why so many businesses are moving to Microsoft Teams, the shared workspace that integrates the many Microsoft 365 collaboration and communication solutions.

The Three C’s

As Forrester points out, the benefits of Microsoft Teams fall into three categories. They are:

  1. Communication, which is improved through a broad range of chats, virtual meetings, and calls.
  2. Collaboration, taking advantage of integrated Microsoft 365 applications to work together
  3. Customization, through third party apps, processes, and devices that extend users’ capabilities.

Considering that communicating and collaborating take up the vast majority of employees’ daily work, whatever a business can do to streamline that work and eliminate productivity-sapping wasted time is a good thing.

With Microsoft Teams, it is possible to bring together each of your teams’ conversations, meetings, files, apps, and group projects in a way that suits today’s mobile and flexible work environment.

Let’s look at each of the key benefits in more detail:

Communication

Meetings are rarely as efficient as they should be, and Microsoft Teams helps overcome that. Using Teams reduces the total number of meetings and their duration. With reliably high audio quality, employees spend less time dealing with setup and call quality issues, and require fewer meetings overall, Forrester points out.

How many fewer meetings? Well, on average the number of meetings is reduced by about 20 percent for companies using Microsoft Teams. Not only is that time reclaimable for more productive work by employees, but they also gain the time typically spent setting up meetings.

Total time saved, of course, varies by companies and employee teams, depending on how many meetings are typical for them, the meeting culture itself, and how geographically diverse the employee teams tend to be.

Implementing Microsoft Teams for employees who communicate and work with users from outside the organization – whether partners, customers, prospects, or others – streamlines processes such as sales, product development, and compliance. A survey of companies using Teams found that employees working with outsiders were able to reduce the time spent on those activities by 15 to more than 20 percent, with an average weekly time savings of 2.2 hours1.

Companies also report reduced web conferencing, long-distance, mobile phone, and on-premises telephony costs, as well as less travel. 

Collaboration

With strong collaboration – enabled by efficient access to the resources and people needed to make smarter, faster decisions – processes run much more smoothly. The time individual employees save can be devoted to higher-value activities. This has been shown to increase employee satisfaction and improve corporate culture.

Co-authoring alone saves employees an average of an hour and a half weekly, with valuable time savings also delivered through conversation search, better version control, and enhanced document and co-worker search. A bonus: using Teams reduces the number of average daily emails by about 17 percent.

Importantly, those employees and teams tasked with making important decisions are able to improve their time-to-decision calculations by about 18 percent, thanks to the fact that the information and resources they need are readily available via a shared workspace.

These improvements yield improved worker satisfaction and empowerment, which helps reduce employee attrition rates. Teams-using companies report lower attrition rates, Forrester notes, along with reductions in the time needed to train and onboard new hires. That can add up to significant savings when considering all the costs involved in replacing employees and bringing new ones up to speed.

Customization

The ability to customize and extend the Microsoft Teams platform with third-party apps, processes, and devices streamlines activities by eliminating the need to switch between systems. Simply reducing the amount of switching can save the average employee about an hour and a half each week, according to Forrester.

The ability to create a shared workspace with customers, partners, and other outside entities is another advantage. In addition to the time savings mentioned above, this fosters improved collaboration between and among organizations and helps boost satisfaction and retention.

What Forrester has found is that there are many scenarios in which a company implements Microsoft Teams and finds additional new and innovative ways to use the system, as well as extending its existing and new features to users throughout the organization.

An additional advantage is in attracting younger workers. They are especially keen on having the same quality of user experience at work as they enjoy in their personal lives. Teams can deliver that experience, and help a company attract more creative, energetic, and savvy employees.

Companies that embrace Microsoft Teams are finding that it speeds their digital transformation initiatives by increasing cross-functional, and cross-geographical, collaboration, Forrester concludes. Organizations report improved communication and collaboration, better business outcomes, and significant time savings.

Mobile workers particularly benefit thanks to better access to resources from their mobile devices. This pays off with better employee cohesion and a more consistent corporate culture.

In addition, the consolidation onto a single platform allows organizations to eliminate many multiple existing solutions, reducing the complexity of their overall networks and trimming costs.

1Forrester, The Total Economic Impact™ Of Microsoft Teams