When something positively changes the way you do things every day without it seeming like an adjustment period has been necessary, you just can’t help but tell others. This is where I found myself in my first week at Net Support UK, using Microsoft’s cloud based productivity suite Office 365 for the first time.

You have questions about Office 365. What is it? Why would I need it? I already have Microsoft Office on my work computer, isn’t that the same thing? Or maybe you use Google Docs. That’s cloud based productivity software, so isn’t that the same?

Office 365 isn’t like anything you’ve used in a work environment before. Yes it has the latest versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook, but it also has so much more to offer, features you may not have realised you needed, but you’ll never want to go without again.

If you find yourself needing to write a document that will eventually be shared with your colleagues, you currently open Word, or your word processing platform of choice. You write a few paragraphs before realising that you need some information from an email you were sent by your teammate. You stop what you’re doing, click on your email, wait for it to load, find the information you need, then go back to your document to keep writing.

I however use Office 365, so when I’m writing my document in word and need information from an email sent to me by a colleague, I just click on my waffle (the little grid of squares in the corner of Office 365), click outlook, read the email, click the waffle again and I’m straight back to Word. I don’t even need to save my Word document because Word has done that for me.

Microsoft Office 365 Business from Microsoft Gold Partners Net Support UK
Yammer application from Microsoft Gold Partners Net Support UK

The Yammer application will enhance your productivity too. Think of it as social media for the office. You can post updates about what you’re working on, create groups for teams and projects, and even “Praise” a colleague – giving them a mention for passing a qualification or doing great work. Not only is Yammer a fun way to stay connected with the rest of the team, but it’s a great tool for collaboration on tasks and making sure you’re up to date with everything that’s going on.

When communicating on Yammer isn’t enough, for example when you need to discuss a project, there’s Skype For Business. You can video call someone if they’re out of the office, instant message a colleague for a quick query, or hold entire meetings with colleagues anywhere in the world with the ‘meeting broadcast’ feature.

Skype for business from Microsoft Gold Partners Net Support UK

The calendar app is great for seeing what everyone in your team has on that day. If you need to schedule a meeting, you no longer have to contact everyone to see when suits. Simply click on the calendar app in the waffle and look at your team’s calendar. What everyone’s doing for the week is now right in front of you, taking the guesswork out of finding a time to get everyone together. There’s also an app built into Outlook called FindTime – which allows you to send out an open invitation to colleagues, letting everyone individually pick a time. When a time is agreed upon, it’s scheduled.

Delve application from Microsoft Gold Partners Net Support UK

Need to find that document you worked on with a colleague but can’t remember where it’s stored? Delve has you covered. Launch Delve from your Office 365 waffle, click on the person’s name and it’ll be there. Only documents you’ve worked on with colleagues are displayed, so no need to worry about permissions or sensitive permission.

When everyone does get together, you’ll need to take notes. This is where OneNote comes in. Forget paper, because OneNote is the digital alternative to your workbook. Take notes from your meeting in your own OneNote folder, or create a shared folder so everyone’s notes are in the same place. You can even save content from the internet, insert photos and draw in your OneNote folders using touch screen devices.

The Planner app allows your team to create “buckets” – lists of what you’re each working on, and together. When you’ve completed your task, click on the green tick icon so your team mates know you’re finished. Think of an idea on the way home? Make an ideas bucket and keep your ideas there so your team can see them.

Office 365 Planner application from Microsoft Gold Partners Net Support UK

Office 365 is already changing every aspect of my working day for the better. Every application, file and piece of information I need is all in one place, and I can go between apps and storage locations with the click of a button. In a week, I’ve barely scratched the surface of what Office 365 has to offer. Changes are made and new apps are added regularly, and I can’t wait to see what’s next. For more information on Office 365 and what it can do for your business, click here.