When your inbox is overflowing and project deadlines are approaching, one way to simplify your workday is to consider the benefits of creating what’s known as a personal workspace in Microsoft Teams. A personal workspace is a private team available just to you on Microsoft Teams. Your personal workspace allows you to keep all your work organized in one space, making it easier to keep track of your tasks and to do items. Having a personal workspace allows you to really utilize Teams as the true hub for all your work and helps keep all your notes, assignments, work, tasks, and to-do lists all in one organized space.
Creating a Personal Workspace
To set up a personal workspace, you can follow these easy steps:
- You will need to create a new team. When you select Join or create a team, you will be given the option to create a team, join a team with a code, or select some of the pre-created teams to join. To set up your personal workspace, select Create a team.
- To really customize your personal workspace, you are going to select to build this team from scratch. You may be able to use a template if one has been created by Teams Admin in the Admin center. But since this is our personal workspace and we really want to be able to tailor it to our needs, you’ll want to select From scratch.
- From there, you’ll have the choice to create a private or public team. Since this is your own personal workspace, you’ll want this to be a Private team, which means it will not show up for others to join. Other users can only join a private team by an invitation from the team owner.
- Name your team and provide a description. Since others will not be able to join your team, you don’t have to provide an in-depth description. However, providing a short description will help clarify for Teams Admin what the purpose and use of this team is. For example, I just called mine “Personal Workspace” and in the description I wrote “This is my private team to keep track of all my tasks.”
- And lastly, once you’ve got a name and a description, you are going to hit Create!
When you create your new team, it may default to putting it on the bottom of your list. My preference is to drag it to the top so your personal workspace can be the first team on your list, making it easy to find and access.
Default Tabs in your Personal Workspace
Whenever you create a new team, you will be set up with a “general” channel that includes three tabs automatically: the “posts” tab, the “files” tab, and the “wiki” tab. Let’s explore how these default tabs might be of use to you in your new personal workspace.
The posts tab is the space we normally use to communicate with other Team members. Since this is a private team, we don’t really need this space to make announcements to other users, but you can think of this space as your own personal bulletin board. Some ways in which you may use the post tab are to set reminders for yourself, save important links, or write down notes you don’t want to forget.
The files tab is where we would usually upload or create collaborative files with our other Teams members. Since you can access your OneDrive files on Teams, I initially thought there wasn’t much use for this space. But lately, I’ve been starting to work on what I’m going to refer to as mostly one time use files in my personal workspace.
For example, I might draft out a long email to a client in this space or create an agenda for an upcoming meeting. Keeping these types of files in my personal workspace makes them easy for me to find, and it frees up my OneDrive space to stay more focused on files that are directly related to my everyday work or files I may need to reference more often.
Pro-tip: If you find your OneDrive is starting to get a little overwhelming, consider what files you need to keep, as in you don’t want to delete them, but you aren’t referencing them that often. You can easily move those files to your personal workspace all while remaining on Teams. To do this in Teams, you can go to “files,” go to “OneDrive,” select some files, and use the ellipse icon to hit “move.” Then, you can select “browse teams and channels” and move selected files from your OneDrive over to the files tab of your personal workspace.
The wiki tab is very similar to a OneNote notebook. It’s a note taking app and it is the only one of the three default tabs you can delete. You can take notes in your wiki tab, but personally, I tend to remove this tab because I prefer to add a OneNote Notebook. If you also want to remove this tab, you can right click on it and select “remove.”
Other Helpful Tabs to add to your Personal Workspace
Since this is your own private Team, you can play around with what tabs will be most beneficial for you! I’ll share some ideas on what tabs you can add to your personal workspace to keep your tasks and work organized.
Planner by Tasks and To Do
Adding Planner by Tasks and To Do can help you create weekly and daily to-do lists. You can create tasks for yourself, as well as get tasks that have been assigned to you by others added to your personal workspace. Planner allows you to create tasks from email messages, Teams chats, and even posts from collaborative Teams Channels. You can read more about planner here!
OneNote is a note-taking program that allows you to have an individual notebook for your own personal notes, drawings, screen clippings, and more or you can have a collaborative note-book with multiple contributors. Your notebooks can be broken down into sections and pages, allowing you to organize your notes by topics, dates, and more! When you add OneNote as a tab, you can create an entirely new notebook for your personal workspace, or you can add an existing one. Connecting a OneNote notebook to your personal workspace allows you to keep any project notes, meeting notes, client notes and research all in one, organized space.
You can add websites as tabs, which is what you’ll need to do to add your Outlook inbox as a tab to your personal workspace. In order to do this, you’ll need the link to your inbox. To get that, you can head over to portal.office.com, which will bring you to your Office 365 portal. From here, click on “Outlook.” This will bring you to the web app version of your Outlook inbox. You can simply copy that link to use it as a tab in your personal workspace. Once you have that added, you can check and send emails all from your Teams space!
You can also access your Outlook calendar from Teams by adding a website as a tab and grabbing the link from the Outlook web app. While we already have a calendar app in Teams that is linked with our Outlook calendars, it’s limited to a weekly view, and you cannot view any shared calendars in Teams. So, by adding your calendar as a tab to your personal workspace, you have the ability to view your monthly calendar and you can view any shared calendars you have added.
SharePoint Document Libraries
The files tab in your personal workspace isn’t a great space to store files you’re working on collaboratively. But what you can do with your personal workspace is add a website as a tab that links to a SharePoint document library that you frequently visit. Once you’ve navigated to the SharePoint document library you’d like to add, make sure you don’t just copy the link that’s in your address bar as this often just links to the SharePoint site, and not the specific document library. Look for the ‘copy link’ button which will give you a sharing link that can take you directly to that document library.
Once that’s been added to your personal workspace, this new tab now functions, essentially, like a second files tab. You can upload files and they will be uploaded to that document library, and you can create new files from this space that will be stored in that document library.
You can use the option to add a website as a tab to have easy access to your most frequented websites. A popular suggestion is to include your favorite search engine in your personal workspace, so you don’t even need to leave Teams to do quick and easy research. You can also consider adding any additional websites that will help you be more productive, like websites where you might track your time, company contact lists, or FAQs or guides to programs you use often in your work!
I have given you some suggestions of how to use your personal workspace, but the best part of it is that it is truly customizable. You can add what you need to be your most productive self to this workspace, and you can tailor it to your work and your needs.
If you are new to Teams and need help getting started, contact PEI today!
Jess Schneider, PEI