This week in the Puget Sound region, we hit another difficult milestone related to COVID-19. As local cases continued to mount, our government told many in-person businesses to remain temporarily shut until the outbreak is contained. And governments across the country and around the world have taken similar measures. Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), already hit hard by the impact of the outbreak, will feel the effects of this the most. Already we’re witnessing their entrepreneurial spirit in action as restaurants pivot to delivery businesses, in-person services swiftly switch to digital solutions, and online retail stores go live overnight. But with schools closing, group activities and events being canceled, and many businesses asking employees to work remotely, our home and work lives have suddenly—sometimes awkwardly—merged, and we are all scrambling to keep our businesses and our families healthy and safe.
We understand that as an SMB you can’t afford to be out of touch. We know that you need to continue to service your existing customers, pitch new business, meet with employees, and do whatever it takes to keep your company running. That’s why we’re making Microsoft Teams available for everyone, even organizations that don’t have Office 365. Read on to learn more about Teams and how you can start using it today.
What is Microsoft Teams?
Microsoft Teams is a software solution that enables SMBs to perform many essential business tasks remotely. With Teams, you can virtually chat, collaborate, and meet with employees, customers, suppliers, and partners. The Microsoft Office apps are built right into Teams, so you can use and share the files you create in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook without leaving the tool. Recently, I shared tips for our team on how to start working remotely with Teams. If you are new to the tool or to working remotely, it can help you acclimatize to both.
Making Teams available for everyone
Teams is a part of Office 365. If your organization is licensed for Office 365, you already have it and you can log in here. Even if you don’t have Office 365, we want to help ensure that everyone has access to Teams during these challenging times. Here are some simple ways to get Teams for all users in your company right away—even if you don’t have Office 365.
For individuals and businesses who purchase directly from Microsoft.com
If you want to get Teams directly from Microsoft, you can do so in the following ways:
- Sign up for a free trial of Office 365 Business Premium, which includes a full-featured version of Teams.
- If you’re using a consumer email address such as Gmail or Outlook, you can sign up for the freemium version of Teams by following this link.
For businesses served by partners
If you are a new or established Microsoft customer who does not currently have licenses that include Microsoft Teams (such as Exchange Online or Office 365 Business), you can work with your partner to receive a free six-month Teams trial. If you don’t have a partner already and would like to work with one, you can search for partners with expertise in Microsoft Teams by using this link. This offer is good for companies with up to 1,000 users.
At a time when so many of us are switching to remote work, we hope that Teams can help enable you to keep moving your business forward. Below you will find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions from SMBs about getting started with Teams. Once you’re up and running, check back here for tips, customer stories, and informative articles designed to help you adjust to remote work. We are in this together, and we are committed to helping all our customers keep their businesses running throughout this challenging time.
Frequently asked questions about Teams
Q. What happens when an individual signs in with work credentials?
A. If the individual is licensed for Teams, they will be logged into the product. If the individual is not licensed for Teams, they will be logged into the product and automatically receive a free license of Teams that is valid through January 2021. This includes video meetings for up to 250 participants, live events for up to 10,000, recording and screen sharing, along with chat and collaboration. Details for IT can be found in this document.
Q. What does the freemium version of Teams include?
A. This version gives you unlimited chat, built-in group, one-on-one audio or video calling, 10 GB of team file storage, and 2 GB of personal file storage per user. You also get real-time collaboration with the Office apps for web, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. There is no end date. Get details here.
Q. Is there a user limit in the freemium version?
A. No, there are not restrictions on user limits.
Q. Can I schedule meetings in the freemium version?
A. In the future, we will make it possible for users to schedule meetings. In the meantime, you can conduct impromptu video meetings and calls.
Q. What are your tips for working from home?
A. As mentioned above, our team recently published a list of Teams tips. Also, Lola Jacobson, one of our senior technical writers, posted four additional tips last week. And we have updated the Support remote workers using Microsoft Teams page on docs.Microsoft.com. We have more content on the way, so stay tuned.