What Is Microsoft Teams Essentials?

At the end of 2021, Microsoft made a big announcement. It launched Microsoft Teams Essentials, a new version of Teams explicitly designed for small businesses.

Below, we’ll take a look at the in-depth features of Microsoft Teams Essentials, how it differs from the Free and Enterprise versions, and whether or not it’s worth investing in.

Why has Microsoft introduced Teams Essentials?

We all know about Microsoft Teams. During the pandemic, this collaboration tool was used by companies far and wide to keep up team productivity. Microsoft saw an average of 145 million Teams users a day in 2021. 

However, for small businesses, the cost of the Microsoft 365 subscription plan – which incorporates Teams – can often seem unreasonable. This is why many SMBs opt for Slack and Zoom’s paid plans instead, as they are a lower price. 

Microsoft has caught wind of the fact that it’s missing out on a huge market by not providing a product specifically for SMBs. Enter Microsoft Teams Essentials.

What is Microsoft Teams Essentials?

Microsoft Teams Essentials is a standalone tool. It is not sold as part of a Microsoft 365 subscription. The software is priced at AU $5.50 per user per month.

You might be thinking: ‘I can get Microsoft Teams for free anyway.” It’s true – but there are some benefits to the Essentials version that you don’t get with the free tool.

Firstly, Teams Essentials has all the features of the free tool that make it a great collaboration tool:

  • Instant messaging, video call functionality.
  • Virtual backgrounds.
  • A meeting lobby for meetings that haven’t started and Together Mode.

As well as this, Teams Essentials also offers users 10GB of cloud storage, which is twice more than the free version. Moreover, while the free version of Teams limits meetings to 60 minutes and 100 participants, Teams Essentials allows for video calls that are up to 30 hours and can contain 300 participants in a single meeting. 

What are the advantages of Microsoft Teams Essentials?

Microsoft Teams Essentials has many benefits that can help SMBs improve workplace productivity and efficiency. 

Let’s take a look below. 

Improved communication for enhanced productivity 

Two of the most significant challenges employees face with remote work are loneliness and collaboration. Teams Essentials can help SMBs directly combat these difficulties. 

With chat and video functionality within a friendly user interface, it is easier than ever for employees to communicate and collaborate with Microsoft Teams Essentials. 

Moreover, we like that Teams has humanised corporate communications with the additions of emojis, gifs and likes – similar to what we see on consumer platforms like Facebook and Instagram. These additions make it easier to have more life-like conversations over messages. 

Enable real-time collaboration

 A lot of companies are still working remotely due to the impact of the pandemic. When everyone was in the office, it was easy to keep everyone up to date with the latest announcements, changes and team news. 

In the remote working world, organisations have to rely on email for these things. This can quickly become clunky and disjointed – people may get left off CC and emails could be missed.

Microsoft Teams makes it easier to keep your people updated in real-time, so you no longer have to go through the formality of sending an email every time you want to chat with your co-workers. 

Onboard new employees easily

Joining a new company remotely can be overwhelming. New joiners can feel isolated and unsure who to get in touch with over email if they have questions. Teams makes for a more effortless onboarding experience. 

For one, the platform is easy to integrate onto any device. Secondly, Teams’ video and message functionality make it easy for new joiners to talk with their colleagues, ask questions, and feel part of the new workplace community. 

Is Microsoft Teams Essentials right for my organisation?

Microsoft’s introduction of Microsoft Teams Essentials is a smart move, placing it firmly in the SMB category.

Microsoft Teams Essentials is priced extremely competitively against other players in this space. With great storage and cool features, we think this software would be a great addition to any SMB’s technology stack. 

Even if you plan to go back to the office full-time, communicating wholly over email is a thing of the past. We advise companies to embrace the chat-functionality of applications like Teams to boost employee productivity and efficiency. 

Learn How You Can Leverage the Power of Teams for Your Organisation

If you’re curious about implementing Microsoft Teams in your business, then chat with us!

GKM2 can assist your Sydney area business with an overview of Teams, its new features, and help integrate it to improve your team collaboration and communications. 

Contact us today to learn more. Call +61 2 9161 7171 or reach out online.