24 Feb Productivity boosting features of 365 – Tasks
How do you manage the tasks and work assignments among your team?
Keeping on top of the ongoing administrative tasks, projects, client service responsibilities – and many more – can become a chore. With a never-ending list of functions within a business that must not get missed, for the sake of delivering on time for clients, meeting compliance obligations or simply keeping your business performing and profitable; having tasks and projects that are organised and tracked is fundamental.
With the challenges thrown at us all over the past year, it can be even more challenging to keep on top of your workload – especially when you aren’t working in close proximity with your colleagues.
You may well already have a task system in place – whether that’s on a whiteboard, paper-based or within one of the countless software tools that exist to solve this problem in the digital age, but does it really work well for you?
For a task system to be truly adopted by teams – and therefore be kept up to date and taken seriously – it must be both familiar and simple & fast to access.
What are some of the options already available?
If, like most businesses, you have already taken advantage of the tools within the Microsoft 365 (a.k.a Office 365) suite – you may be relying on one of the many confusing set of tools for managing tasks and projects.
Many of us still rely upon the email flags and simple task creation functions within Microsoft Outlook – whether that’s on the desktop or mobile app. It’s simple, fast and easy for single users to keep on top of basic functions of their own.
But, as a manager how do you know what your team are working on? How are task statuses managed and overall workload responsibilities overseen?
The same process as above applies within To-Do, Microsoft’s answer to a simple task list application that can be used cross-devices. Great for solo use, but hopeless in a team or group scenario.
Planner is a more comprehensive middle-ground option in 365 between basic task lists and full immersive project management. If you have teams that work departmentally or projects that operate independently of one another – organising your workload across different Planner ‘buckets’ might be for you.
Outside of 365
Outside of the Microsoft 365 environment, there are of course countless task and project management tools. Each of which have their own PROs and CONs, however, the biggest of all is – why would you want to use YET another tool in a different and unfamiliar environment?
By managing your task functions outside of 365, you’re missing out on the abilities to automate and structure the way you work with the features available to you inside the ecosystem. Such as relying on Power Automate to do away with manual processes.
There’s the potential for tasks to be all over the place. Removing the ability to manage your operation via a ‘single pane of glass’.
Microsoft 365 now has the solution – ‘Tasks’
Appropriately named Tasks, (I’m sure it took Microsoft days to come up with that title!), you can consolidate you and your team’s assigned tasks cross-app (whether in Outlook, ToDo or Planner) within one task management panel. A panel which also can be conveniently accessed within Microsoft Teams – an app which most of us will be now spending a lot of our working day, particularly since the influx of remote working.
What makes Tasks unique?
With many of Microsoft’s existing applications that are centred around task management ending up clashing with each other, or have overlapping features; making for a confusing decision around which tool is best for you. Tasks on the other hand is designed as a ‘one stop shop’ for all your task organising needs.
The task management ecosystem
To help you understand a little further about the methodology and structure applied within Microsoft to the various task apps – we’ve split these out into categories.
- Task engines
Task engines are where tasks are stored. Microsoft’s engines are Planner and To-Do. They are the staple of the task management system.
- First-party apps
First-party apps allow you to save tasks whilst working. For example, you could be working on a document within Microsoft Word, which creates a task that you then want saved back on To-Do and Planner.
- Task hubs
These are apps like Teams and Outlook, where you do other work (like reading emails) but you want the option to catch tasks whilst doing it.
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If your IT is causing you challenges or you seek to better utilise the advantages of modern technology, we can help. Please reach out to our team today by contacting us to schedule a free discovery call.