One of the big bets on Microsoft Teams that the CEO himself has articulated (see this post) is that it becomes a “platform as significant as the internet browser, or a computer operating system”. One key outcome of this is that if Teams does become as pervasive as this suggests and the tool where all work is done as Microsoft positions it (disclosure), then it also aids in reducing context switching.
Context switching in relation to the use of Apps is when you use multiple Apps and have to jump between them and in the process you lose context and productivity. With Teams as a platform where you can incorporate multiple Apps into it and moreover collaborate around the Apps, there is less need to switch. As Microsoft positions it: Stay in the flow of work with new collaborative apps for Microsoft Teams.
All of which is to say this theory does hold water for me in the form of a reminder App I use in Teams where I spend most of my working day. There are several Apps for this in the Teams store and I tested them all, this one is the simplest I found: Reminders for Microsoft Teams (teamsreminder.app). Here’s how it works in Teams chat.
Super simple and the only improvement I would have liked would be not to have to use the inverted commas, just natural language like some of the others. But this is minor and the added possibilities more than make up for that. Those stem from the ability to use the App in Team Channels and to involve others, as in the example below.
There are more functions, check them out on the site, e.g. reminding yourself to follow up on a message or thread. I love the simplicity of the pricing too and the low cost. These kinds of things make all the difference.
Most of all, it works seamlessly alongside all of the conversations and collaboration I conduct on Teams and really embeds itself into my flow of work.
The concept refers to far bigger and more complex Apps but it’s with these that you often find the most value.