An engineer will always do his/her best to have their product work optimally straight out of the box. However once it gets into users' hands missing pieces of the puzzle and ways to improve can often show themselves.

Microsoft 365 is no different. Microsoft is always trying to find ways to make it fulfil every need your office might have.

Over the years a number of add-ins have been created to optimise its functionality. Many of these are designed to improve the efficiency and productivity with which one works in Microsoft 365.

Here are 8 of the best ones:

1. FindTime

This is a neat way for all users to view multiple slots in their colleagues' calendars. People can vote on the optimal time for holding a meeting with the winning time being sent out immediately as an invite. This eliminates any back and forth via email or live chat. 

2. Polly

In keeping with the voting theme, Polly is a third party tool allowing team members to create a poll about anything. Like FindTime it saves any back and forth attempting to get email responses. It’s also super simple to use. As demonstrated in the video below, type @polly into your Microsoft Teams chat window to get a poll started.

 

3. Boomerang

This is a general “how to fight the headache that email causes” app. So basically it's any modern worker’s best friend.

It has a number of uses but the ones to note are as follows.

  • You can 'pause' your inbox so that your computer - and the office - isn’t ringing with notifications. 
  • You can also schedule emails to send at a later date. Ideal for when you want to get an email off your plate but don’t want the recipient to bombard you with a distracting response just yet.
  • Also, in a similar vein to FindTime, Boomerang can present you with a visual depiction of one’s availability. Then when anyone asks when you’re available you can simply send them your find time grid. 

 

4. Template Phrases

Do you ever find yourself typing out the same thing in emails? Or do you spend too long staring at a blank page?

Template Phrases lets you make custom templates that you can spin out instantly when you need that go-to phrase. It also has a search function allowing you to find pre-written phrases by topic. For example search 'arranging a meeting' and you’ll be presented with phrases commonly used in that context.

 

 

5. Woodpecker

More 'templating' magic, this time for Microsoft Word.

Woodpecker allows you to create templates for a variety of documents. Everything from letters to legal documents. It was originally created for legal documents - legal teams found it particularly useful when creating contract templates. But it’s by no means just for law firms. Its ability to standardise documents and search and replace function can make numerous tasks more efficient.

6. DocuSign

Another tool that’s not just for lawyers. Businesses of all shapes and sizes are signing documents left right and centre. Without a tool like this you would have to print out anything that needed signing, scrawl a signature on every page, scan them and send back.

With DocuSign you can sign the document digitally.

7. Priority Matrix

This is another neat tool that fits into Microsoft Teams. Using a nice, visual quadrant system, you can manage projects and prioritise tasks whilst remaining firmly within Microsoft Teams.

8. Invision Freehand

Think of this like a shared, digital, interactive whiteboard. A great work-shopping tool that transforms collaboration by letting users sketch and write, with their ideas being represented in real time.

In a remote work context, Invision Freehand really shines; it's a great way to bring individuals out of their bubble and get roughing ideas out quickly.

These add-ins are certainly more than a list of “nice to haves.” They can help minimise distractions, save time, and keep your mind away from less important tasks. All three of those points ultimately contribute to your business’s bottom line.

Whether you’re new to Microsoft 365 or you’re looking to go a little deeper, we can advise on every aspect of the package. Contact Pensar to find out more.