As you look to close out in 2020, we know that you want to start the year strongly and make the most of the 12 days after Christmas. This article will provide you with some of the best productivity tips and Microsoft 365 tools you can leverage as we start 2021. Let us get started:  

1. SharePoint – Kickstart Collaborating, Co-Authoring, and Adding Files Office 

Are you looking to take your team productivity up a notch? Few tools today are as powerful as SharePoint when it comes to communication and collaboration. This platform has lots of options for regular and real-time co-authoring as well as adding files directly from your desktop. Once you drag and drop files into your SharePoint cloud, you can access a collaborative and secure environment. Also, real-time collaboration enables users to engage in a document together and track the position of other users in the document. You can see any changes as they occur. Additionally, Co-authoring allows you to apply any updates that other users make and be informed of any feedback/suggestion they may. Overall, SharePoint is an intuitive platform that allows multiple users to work on Word Documents, Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations without conflicting with one another. 

2. OneDrive – Save All Your Work Automatically! 

One of the worst feelings at work is losing a file completed, forgetting to save your work, or, worse yet, having your laptop crash. Whether you want to make edits on your desktop apps or browser, OneDrive allows you to AutoSave all your document changes without you having to save manually. Each user has access to 1TB of storage for files and documents through this cloud-based storage app. OneDrive is the best location to store your Word, PowerPoint, and Excel files. Overall, OneDrive is the overarching data management system for Microsoft 365 and the glue that holds all Microsoft Office services together.

3. Teams: Holiday and Celebration Meetings   

Microsoft Team’s new 7×7 gallery meeting view is a wonderful way to get your team in the Christmas spirit and even look forward to celebrating the end of the year accomplishment. This large Gallery provides a new way to view video for up to 49 participants on a single screen (7×7). This feature rolled out to production with the unique multi-window experience. The new breakout room features allow meeting organizers to split up meeting participants into smaller groups to facilitate brainstorming sessions, workgroup discussions, or, even better, Christmas get-togethers. Team leaders can choose to hop between breakout rooms, make announcements to all breakout rooms, and close the breakout rooms that bring everybody back into the central meeting. Currently, Microsoft Teams is the leading corporate communication tool. Learn to leverage this powerful tool to bring together your workforce in these unprecedented times. 

4. Forms – 2020 Surveys 

Millions of people have been using Microsoft Forms to create surveys, polls, and quizzes since April 2020, when this feature became generally available for Office 365 commercial users. Users can now create unique surveys without sacrificing valuable productivity, time, and effort. With Microsoft’s recent updates on Forms, users can integrate Polls within Teams, automate questions into a form, and create a branded Form experience for employees. As your team looks to send out an end of year surveys or conduct polls, Microsoft Forms is the perfect tool to use. 

5. Office 365 App – Work Anywhere, Anytime, and on Any Device 

Although holidays and vacation time are for family, emergencies or quick work check-ins can occur. Office 365 cloud solution allows you to access your work from any device. To do this, however, you need to download the Office app to your devices. You can get the app from the Android or the iOS store. This will help you check your work and stay in the loop from any smartphone, tablet, iPhone, laptop, or PC. 

6. Outlook – Email Efficiency 

Most organizations, as they are closing the year, have an increase in emails sent and received. Did you know that with Microsoft 365, you can reply to emails without opening them? The reading pane in Outlook allows you to preview an email and send your response to the Outlook window. Moreover, you can use a template to respond to emails with a single click. If you combine this feature with the conversations view, then you can see in an instant if you have responded to a specific email or not. Leveraging Outlook is an excellent way of reclaiming email time and focusing more on business operations. 

7. PowerPoint – Upcoming “End of the Year” Presentations 

In most organizations, leaders have their team present final projects, work recaps, or next year’s plans at the end of Q4. PowerPoint is one of the most popular apps shared and used during a Teams meeting. There is a reason when you bring up the share options, PowerPoint takes up more than a third of it. However, when you present a PowerPoint, you are shown three different options: Teams built-in share, Desktop window share, and presenter view share. You can either offer your entire screen, show the slides but navigate through your desktop, or collaboratively present with your team. It is essential to know how to use each one and which presentation options best support you. 

8. Excel – Shortcuts! Shortcuts! Shortcuts! 

If you want to move more efficiently in your work, you need to leverage some shortcuts. Microsoft 365 has numerous shortcuts within Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel that you can use to make your work easier. For instance, when working in Excel, you can use keyboard shortcuts to make navigating spreadsheets much easier. Here is a list of Microsoft Excel shortcuts that will make your work easier: Microsoft Excel 

9. Power Apps – Remote and Onsite Business Support 

We know that many organizations have needed to bring essential workers onsite for business operations throughout the year. Under this pandemic, it has been tough to find affordable technology solutions.  

Our team at Klarinet has helped many clients find ways to bring their essential workers onsite as safely as possible. We have developed a couple of Microsoft Power App solutions that equip managers and executive leaders with the ability to make real-time decisions and allow employees to enter the site safely.  

One of our innovative solutions was a COVID-19 Health Declaration Power App. Through this Power App, employees could validate their health conditions, attach tests, and instantly send responses. The security or leader onsite then had access to a real-time workflow that recorded all responses and tests. If you are looking to bring back some employees onsite before the year ends or at the start of the year, contact our Power Apps experts.  

10. Power Automate – Automation as a present? 

Over the past year, Microsoft Power Automate has been integrating more deeply with Microsoft Teams to help you automate your work and be more productive. This Christmas, give yourself the gift of automating repetitive manual tasks simply by following a couple of steps on your Power Automate app within Teams. 

Microsoft Power Automate recently introduced features like triggering a flow from any message in Teams, new actions to create meetings and mentioning colleagues. The new Power Automate app in Teams also lets you quickly overview the different flows associated with Teams. Process automation and workflow management have never been more convenient and straightforward. Learn more: here

11. One Note – 2 Birds, 1 Stone 

OneNote is one of Microsoft’s most underrated applications. It is an intuitive note-taking application that is connected to most of your Microsoft 365 business apps. Also, it supports a familiar interface that is already part of other MS Office tools, like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. All work and notes taken are automatically saved on the fly and shared with anyone at any time.

One of OneNote’s best parts is that you can embed notes into Outlook invitations and emails at the click of a button. Save yourself from doing double the work and integrate your notes into your email, agenda, and meeting drafts. 

12. Exchange – Fight off the Grinches of the World 

Exchange actively protects your communications with built-in defenses against email threats. Centralize your internal emails so that they can be back up and secure. Exchange’s multi-layered anti-spam filtering comes with continuous updates to help guard against increasingly sophisticated spam and phishing threats. 

With most organizations running remote or hybrid operations, hackers are finding new ways to steal classified information. Microsoft Exchange has found a way to fight off the Grinches of the world and offer users authentication options to further secure their Exchange app. Take advantage of all the ways Microsoft Exchange can make your team more productive and secure these upcoming holidays. 

Merry Christmas and Happy 2021 New Year! 

Happy Holidays from our team at Klarinet Solutions. If you’re interested in customized feedback on your current Microsoft 365 environment, please do not hesitate to reach out to us in 2021.  For more insights and information or questions, consult Klarinet Solutions and talk to one of our experts so we can collaborate on modernizing your digital workplace, Microsoft 365, or SharePoint environment.  

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