Microsoft Office 365 is now a widely used cloud-based suite with over a million companies worldwide taking advantage of its productivity-enhancing capabilities.

By April 2020, over 600,000 companies in the United States alone were using the Office suite software.

Number of Office 365 company users worldwide as of February 2020, by country

Source: Statista

In today’s COVID-19 era, more and more workers are operating from home, and chances of returning to the office in the near future are minimal if any.

Businesses and organizations are now working extra hard to make sure that they fully equip their employees with the right tools to enable them to remain productive and deliver even as they work remotely.

One of the most sought after productivity tools that can bridge this gap is Microsoft Office 365. Below are some handy, easy-to-do tips and tricks that will help you get the most out of Microsoft Office 365.

Tip #1: Stay in Sync with Office 365

When you have different employees working from different locations, you are likely to experience different document formats. These multiple versions can lead to inefficiencies in performance.

Whether it is group work or an individual project, the various versions of a document can lead to stress and confusion. 

Office 365 and SharePoint allow employees to work on the same version of the document. When you use OneDrive, then you can share and retrieve the same version of a document. OneDrive automatically updates any changes on a document.

Image Source: Microsoft

You can also set up a team site for sharing and collaborating on a file frequently. You do this by creating a Microsoft 365 group or team.

The team setup comes with its own set of benefits. For instance, you get a group inbox, a calendar in Outlook, OneNote, and a SharePoint site.

Tip #2: Streamline Your Email

Did you know that at least 269 billion emails are sent each day? The truth is that despite advancements in mobile technology and social media, email marketing remains the leading strategy for B2B and B2C communication.

Tip #3. Smart Searching with Smart Lookup & the Translate Feature 

Have you ever received an email or opened a document and stumbled on a strange word? Well, with Office 365, you don’t need to open another tab and search for the meaning of the word.

You can select the word, right-click, and use the smart lookup feature to find the word’s meaning without leaving the document. This is just of Office 365’s many productivity-enhancing features. 

You can also select text and translate it to a different language without opening another tab. Start by going to the review tab. In the language section, click translate, and your content will be automatically translated to your selected language.

Tip #4. Boost Security

The new office 365 has specialized features designed to meet the growing security demands. Some of these features include multi-factor authentication (MFA).

This feature adds multiple layers of security to your data, e.g. a password, together with something like biometrics or a retinal scan, and a passcode. 

Office 365 also has Advanced Threat Protection (ATP). This feature protects you from ransomware that is mostly spread through attachments in emails and malicious links. ATP protects you by opening the attachment and links in a virtual environment before it gets to your inbox.

Need extra protection for your employees who work from home using Microsoft Office 365? Blue Dog Security has a dedicated service to protect your employees and your company’s assets wherever they are. Check it out and let’s talk!

Tip #5: Seamless Collaboration

Office 365 comes with a variety of collaboration tools. For instance, when you save your document to OneDrive, you automatically save it in the cloud, where your colleagues have easy access to the latest version.

The auto-save feature allows the software to save any changes you make in the document in real-time. The share option helps you share the document with anyone you want. 

This facilitates global real-time collaboration; therefore, it’s easy to work with multiple team members and update the same document in Word, Excel, or PowerPoint at the same time.

You can even form an ad-hoc team for collaborating on a project in real-time. Thanks to the Office 365 co-authoring features, you and your team will have a streamlined workflow.

Tip #6: Master the Keyboard Shortcuts

Office 365 has numerous shortcuts 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 from Microsoft on keyboard shortcuts in Excel that will make your work easier.

Image Source: Microsoft

Tip #7: Use the Calendar Feature

Most of us are victims of missed reminders or tasks in the to-do-list that disappeared amidst the sea of other tasks. The Office 365 calendar is a great way to ensure that this never happens again.

You can set up the office calendar from any device or access it online in Bing. The paid version of Outlook comes with an embedded calendar. Once you have it, you can set reminders.

Image Source: Calendar

Office 365 also allows you to convert OneNote items to calendar events and assign them to other team members with reminders and deadlines. You may not have network access all the time – this is a great feature for people who are frequent travelers or work from a place with spotty internet connection.

Offline access allows you to see your schedule and check your events offline and it can be a live-saving feature in certain situations. OK, maybe not life-saving, but definitely workday-saving.

Tip #8: Chat with Co-Workers 

Office 365 has the Microsoft Teams In-App integration. Teams is a godsend for remote workers as it comes with the possibility to chat, have audio or video conversations, and share screens with your colleagues.

You can talk to your colleagues without leaving the task you are working on.

Tip #9: Reply to Emails Faster and Easier 

Did you know that with Office 365, you can reply to emails without opening them? The reading pane in Outlook allows you to preview an email and send your response in 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 certain email or not.

Tip #10: Work from Anywhere, on Any Device 

The 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 from your smartphone, tablet, iPhone, laptop or PC. 

However, with multiple devices also come multiple security threats. Make sure your team and your mission-critical data is safe in the cloud. We can help!

Find a bluedog Security partner in your area to learn how we can help you improve your Office 365 security.