When we first started talking about moving to remote working and video meetings back in March, my mind summoned memories of the pixelated and laggy Skype calls I’d endured between 2010-2014. However, while it has had its ups and downs, my opinion on video calls has definitely changed for the better!
So... the truth about Microsoft Teams
In July we faced the challenge of delivering our annual SITU work experience session virtually, which has been covered in more detail in the blog post 'SITU Work Experience 2020'. As we were screen sharing our presentations, the main challenge of this session was the difficulty in getting live feedback from the students as we could not see their faces. In person this would have been a lot easier and I also feel that students may have been more likely to raise their hands or ask questions at different points within each presentation. However, the fact that we were able to deliver the session at all was fantastic and Teams has really made this working from home situation a lot easier on everyone! As Jo has already said in her blog post 'The Truth About Microsoft Teams: Part 1', it’s fantastic to be able to ‘see’ your colleagues still and we’ve made an effort to have regular team social chats which somewhat makes up for not being able to chat regularly in person.
Another bonus is not having to faff about setting up meeting rooms! On one memorable morning pre-lockdown, I arrived at my meeting room at 08:00 for a meeting at 08:30 and spent the entirety of those 30 minutes prepping the room; moving tables back into place, wiping up coffee spills etc. After borrowing a laptop from reception, I then also had to try to set up the VC equipment in the room itself – no mean feat when the phone and ethernet ports aren’t labelled! I ended up calling IT to set up the VC (which they struggled with too) and beginning the meeting late and completely flustered… Whereas to set up a meeting now, all I have to do is send an invite with an automatically created link for people to join. Teams is much more straightforward and I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that I’m in no rush to go back to the old style ‘virtual’ meetings!
To summarise, excluding the occasional issues with slow WiFi and connectivity my experience with Teams has been overwhelmingly positive and I’m pleased we’ve been able to keep in touch throughout this strange and uncertain time. I may sometimes still forget to switch on my mic at the start of a call – but I promise you all that I’m enthusiastically saying hello!