Moving from Skype to Microsoft Teams: Benefits, Features, and Steps to Get Started

By Bryan Timm

While Skype is putting people in touch with their loved ones in a socially distant world; Skype for Business is saying goodbye to companies across the globe. It was announced last summer that Skype for Business Online would be retired on July 31, 2021. This leaves less than a year for companies still utilizing Skype for Business (SFBO) to transition to Microsoft Teams; the replacement product launched in 2017. It is much more than a replacement though, as Microsoft Teams brings together chat, meetings, calling, coloration, app integration, and file storage into a singular product; with an easy to navigate interface.

A Forrester Consulting survey done in 2019 shows us that utilizing Teams has so many benefits including:

  1. “Information workers save 4 hours per week from improved collaboration and information sharing.”
  2. “Companies reported reduced web conferencing, long-distance, mobile phone, and on-premises telephony solutions costs”
  3. “Decision makers improve their time-to-decision by 17.7%.”

What are some of the main advantages of using Microsoft Teams to Skype for Business?

  1. Chat history – Skype for business allowed real-time chat, but with no easily accessible history of the conversation
  2. Team Features – The ability to have private teams built out to have spaces to share, chat, and collaborate together
  3. Meetings – Live captions, whiteboard masking, and easy to access recordings all set Teams apart from its predecessor
  4. Integrations – Choose from hundreds of apps that integrate directly into Microsoft Teams, such as Confluence, Asana, Evernote, SurveyMonkey, and Github.
  5. Guest Access – Need to invite someone outside of the organization? Give them one-time guest access to your meetings or events with Microsoft Teams
  6. Storage – Files used in teams while create a SharePoint site, giving ease of access to a shared storage solution

The countdown has begun to start thinking about your business’ shift to Microsoft Teams. A true Teams deployment is more than just downloading the application, however. You’ll need to review your current configuration, and ensure that all appropriate pieces are moved over to Microsoft Teams. And if you need help, you can rely on technical experts like us!

One of the biggest questions asked: What’s the difference between Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams? Microsoft breaks this down:

What is the best feature of Microsoft Teams?


Channels allow your departments, teams, or sometimes your whole organization a single place to communicate, store files, and integrate apps; without cluttering up the view of other departments or teams who do not necessarily need it (ie: the Marketing team vs the Finance team).

You'll still be able to communicate 1:1 or in any sized group with chats as well. You can A Forrester Consulting survey done in 2019 and take the conversation wherever you go!

What are some Microsoft Teams use cases?

Microsoft Teams is in use at one of the most recognizable names in the sky, Air France. Prior to utilizing Teams, frontline employees struggled to communicate effectively with each other. After its implementation, it allowed them to utilize Teams to collaborate in real-time on a OneNote; to share a summary of daily activities, schedules, and notes that are shared effectively through the cloud.

CenturyLink, a telecommunications company, is going through a strategic growth into a technology leader. Microsoft Teams is helping the company fit it’s new vision “One Company, One Culture” by helping employees stay connected. Cristi Robb, Manager of Information Technology, states that everyone now “works together on one platform to solve corporate problems and achieve our goal to serve customers better”.

Li & Fung, a global supply chain orchestrator, has leveraged Microsoft products & services, including Microsoft Teams, to help serve as a communication platform for their digital product development (DPD) solution. This DPD has helped saved them thousands of dollars and weeks of design time; keeping their business efficient and lean.

What are the main differences between Skype and Microsoft Teams?

Download our Getting Started with Teams Guide to learn more.

How can Microsoft Teams help my team stay connected while working remotely?

Here at Managed Solution, we use Microsoft Teams for nearly everything. It allows us to call and stay connected through 1:1 calls, group calls, meetings, and Live Events; as well as serving as a document management solution that is accessible by only members of that Channel. Our team is located across North America and by utilizing Microsoft Teams we stay connected to each other 24/7 (when we aren’t out volunteering our time in the community).

What are some of the most frequently asked questions about upgrading from Skype to Teams?

  1. Is there a deadline to upgrade for Skype for Business Online customers? Yes. Skype for business online will be retired on July 31, 2021; at which point it will no longer be accessible or supported.
  2. How long does it take to upgrade? That depends on your wants and needs; but it is typically is a 4-6 week process.
  3. My organization is running both; can I just disable Skype for Business? No. You will want to switch to Teams only mode to complete the upgrade.
  4. Will Skype for Business continue to receive upgrades until retirement? No. There will be no more updates to the application before it’s retirement on July 31, 2021.
  5. What does this mean from a licensing perspective? Microsoft Teams is included with Microsoft/Office 365 suites (including the E# products).
  6. Will this work as my phone system? Microsoft 365 provides features to run a 100% cloud-based PBX system. No need for physical devices or on-site equipment!

What are some of the steps involved in setting up Microsoft Teams? 

  1. Identify the teams you will be utilizing in Microsoft Teams (Sales, Admin, Finance, IT, etc). Teams can be rolled out to a single group or department for testing and early adoption. This is best to plan ahead.
  2. Build out the Channels based on the identified teams, projects, or other subsets of your organization. Then set the appropriate permissions for channel admins and end users.
  3. (Optional) Integrate phone system into Microsoft Teams.
  4. Disable Skype for Business on end user machines.
  5. Schedule training with end users throughout the organization for Microsoft Teams

The most important question is: Are you ready for Teams?



Microsoft Inspire 2020: Top Ten Takeaways

Jessica recaps some of the new and exciting updates from Microsoft Inspire as well as some fun facts she learned by attending the virtual Microsoft Inspire conference this year.

Microsoft Inspire is an annual event for Microsoft partners to introduce and announce new innovations surrounding Microsoft products. As a Tier 1 Gold Partner that specializes in Azure and Office 365, Managed Solution attends every year, and more of us got to attend this year with it being online.

Here are the first top 5 takeaways from this year's event:

1. VPNs are designed for 20% company workload. If your company is using a VPN and experiencing downtime or slowness, it's because these legacy VPNs weren't built to support an entire workforce. That's what the cloud is for!

2. If you have compliance reasons or other reasons where you need an on-prem infrastructure, you'll be excited about this update. Now in public preview is Microsoft Azure Stack HCI (Hyper-Converged Infrastructure). This offers secure virtualization of Windows or Linux systems. This is designed specifically for a hybrid environment and is designed for any workload.

3. Microsoft Lists: If you are familiar with SharePoint lists, those are considered now classic lists and you can refer to these as modern lists. It's an integration of Outlook, Teams and SharePoint and acts as a project management tool and keeps track of all your conversations, emails, decisions, tasks, etc. It's great for your hiring process, event planning or any projects you collaborate with others on.

4. Fun fact: using single sign-on saves a person 10 minutes a day which equals about a whole week of time over a year! Think about everything you could do in that extra week. More productivity + better user experience = happiness.

5. With Microsoft Universal Print you can now print from anywhere in the world to your company printers! Whether you're on vacation or traveling, you can still print to your headquarters.

Watch the video that discusses the first 5 in more detail:

6. Azure Active Directory is now offering external identities. Azure AD is where all your group policies and permissions exist. This is where it's determined what you have access to. You can now do this for people outside of your organization!

7. Endpoint Data Loss Protection is now available.  This is specific to Office 365 and protects us when we're on our devices while we're remote.

8. Communication compliance is now available, which scans chats, emails, etc to detect any bullying or harassment. Anything that you determine violates your code of conduct.

9. New Security Integrations are available! No more time-consuming workarounds as Microsoft now integrates with Okta SSO, Symantec, VMware and Carbon Black.

10. Double key encryption for Microsoft 365 which means that Microsoft doesn't even have access to your data that is stored with them. You now control the second key which means you fully control your data.

Watch part 2:

Microsoft Teams vs Zoom: Which Tool is Best For Your Business?

Businesses are leveraging video conferencing tools more than ever before and therefore Microsoft Teams and Zoom are making headlines daily. We'll compare Microsoft Teams vs Zoom here so that you can make the decision on what's best for your business,

In this article, we'll look at the most popular software for video conferencing on the market today: Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Both have been making headlines since the world went remote, and we're going to compare them to let you know their similarities and their differences so you can make a better decision on what's best for your business.

Microsoft Teams vs Zoom: What do they have in common?

These two tools have a lot of similar functions, but the details are where they differ. At a high level, some of the similarities include:

Watch our webinar comparing the Microsoft Teams vs Zoom

The Differences Between Microsoft Teams vs Zoom

While both have some of the same main features, they do differ a lot when you dive into the details. Let's take a look at what makes these two tools different.


Teams and Zoom both offer video conferencing either 1:1 or large groups as well as chat/instant messaging. Teams allows for 250 users to join where Zoom's plan starts at 100 and you have a choice to upgrade your plan or add additional licensing to include up to 500 users.

Teams also has the ability for more customization within your communication options. In Teams you can create different Teams and Channels to organize your different groups. For example, you could have a Sales & Marketing Team with Channels like "Marketing Collateral" and "Sales Training & Resources." Zoom only allows you to create Channels without subgroups. Within each, you can choose to add who you wish and make these Channels private or public. In Teams, you can also @ mention different groups and subgroups for specific messages to notify the people within those groups. Both tools feature both group chats or one to one chats, and they allow you to set a status of whether you're available, offline, or away and customize an away message. You can also schedule meetings both out of the native application or within an integrated calendar like Outlook.

For virtual events like webinars, both have the ability to deliver. Teams webinars are included in its paid plans, whereas Zoom requires additional licensing for this. When creating a webinar in Teams, it's similar to creating a meeting and you invite people the same way. Zoom creates a registration page for your webinar where people can sign up and automatically get emailed their unique attendee link. Teams allows for up to 10,000 attendees and Zoom's starting plan allows for 100 attendees and goes up as you get a higher tiered plan.


Storing & Sharing Files

You can store and share files within both applications, however Teams, again, is much more customizable and much more organized when it comes to storing and sharing files. Teams allows you to edit documents (Word, Powerpoint, Excel, etc) directly within the application itself. Zoom does have a place for shared files, but you can really just store and access them while Teams acts as a collaboration hub for all users. Because Teams natively integrates with the rest of the Office 365 applications, it increases the ease of use of your tech stack and makes it the ultimate collaborative workplace. Both have search functionality to find previous chats or files, but Teams is second to none and can search content within files as well as the file name, making it a much quicker process to find what you're looking for. In the end, Zoom's file sharing is comparable to sending a file via email, whereas Teams' major functionality is file-storing and file-sharing as it sits on top of SharePoint.


Microsoft natively bakes in security to all its application so naturally, Microsoft Teams is going to be hard to compete with at the security level. That said, while Zoom's security features aren't as robust, both tools provide security layers. Zoom offers SSL and advanced encryption and has enabled features like blocking or removing participants and restricts certain users from being able to share screens or rename themselves. Zoom, like Teams, also has waiting rooms or "lobbies" to approve people to be let in and you can also enable passwords for meetings.

Teams absolutely has an edge here, though, largely due to its integration with the Microsoft Admin Center, allowing for Microsoft admins to control security and compliance policies across all applications within their suite of products. Teams offers features like two-factor authentication, channel controls, and data loss prevention. Additionally, Microsoft has Advanced Threat Protection, communication compliance, secure guest access, cloud app security, sensitivity labels and more. If you’re in a highly-regulated industry or are concerned about compliance and security (as all businesses should be), then Teams without a doubt has the advantage here.

Pricing & Free Versions

Both tools have a few different pricing plans and have freemium versions available. Teams freemium includes video and audio conferencing, scheduled meetings, 1 to 1 chat, file sharing, screen sharing, and data encryption. Zoom's free version allows for video and audio conferencing (only up to 40 minutes), scheduled meetings, screen sharing, and chat.

Teams pricing plans range from $0 to 12.50/user/month whereas Zoom ranges from $0 to $19.99/mo/host

In the end, Zoom is a great tool if all you're looking for is video conferencing or webinar delivery. Microsoft Teams, on the other hand, brings all business applications and tools of a workplace together and allows for ultimate collaboration -- and video conferencing is just one feature benefit of its all-encompassing solution. However, if you do need just a conferencing tool, Teams does deliver that, so it really is up to what your business is looking for. In the end, when all things considered, especially (and most importantly) security and productivity, Teams takes the cake.

Considering migrating to Teams? We'd love to help.

How to work from home and look good doing it [updated for 2020]

In this article, we'll discuss how to work from home, how to stay productive and secure, and what tools you might want to consider to do so.
Technology has enabled us to work remotely and we've seen a huge increase of that in the last decade, especially now with COVID-19 forcing businesses into a remote work policy.
Telecommuting offers wonderful benefits to companies and workers alike, with an improved work-life balance topping the charts. People who are working from home are also likely to be more engaged in their jobs, and being engaged can lead to higher profitability, mobile productivity, customer engagement, and other positive business outcomes.
However, remote teams cab experience problems of their own. At the forefront is the disconnection that naturally occurs when team members work separately from the rest of the team. If partially remote, with some workers in the office, remote workers don't get the same experience of office culture. However, with it becoming the 'new norm' many leaders are looking at alternative options to built culture remotely through online games and events, message boards, regularly scheduled video meetings and more.
If you’re new to working remote, here are some things you can do to make your experience as successful as possible:
Now that we've covered the basics to being successful when working remote, let's dive into some technology and tools.
As a result of COVID-19, many organizations are looking at moving their business to the cloud. What was once a scary and unknown place in technology, businesses are adopting a cloud strategy more than ever before. Watch our video below to see why you should consider the cloud for a remote workforce.
Our CIO Tony Pecora discusses how you can support a remote workforce with a modern workplace - a deeper dive on some of the tools discussed above. Check out the interview below:

How to Support Your Remote Workforce with a Modern Workplace - An Interview with Managed Solution vCIO Tony Pecora

In this video interview, you'll hear from Managed Solution's Virtual CIO Tony Pecora and learn more about what it means to have a modern workplace to support your remote workforce. Tony's vast knowledge is a perfect blend between business and IT and has helped clients saved over $250,000 annually with his recommendations when evaluating and optimizing IT. Tony discusses why a modern workplace is so important, especially today, and the effectiveness and benefits of a modern workplace. He addresses the important items for business leaders to understand technology to support their new remote workforce and what to consider when looking at a digital transformation, which many of us now find ourselves in.

What is a modern workplace?

It's always evolving and changing but using digital information aids to adapt that to your workplace to modernize it. It's less about brick and mortar but achieving company goals no matter where you are or what time it is. You can get tasks complete whenever wherever and not just inside office walls.

What is the effectiveness of a modern workplace while working from home?

The benefit has been with the remote workforce is when you work remote is the time you save. That’s that much more time you can assist on client escalations (as tech team). There's just so many monetary and efficiency benefits, plus of course, the work-life balance. The thing is IT will never be an 8-5 Monday to Friday job so work-life balance is so important to technical teams. The ability to have some flexibility and have a break in the day is really nice and then get back to work on "off hours" to tend to things like server reboots, etc to not disrupt the client.

How important is it for leaders to understand the technology in their business?

As a leader, ask yourself, what is possible with the infrastructure you currently have? Then re-evaluate your existing infrastructure. People weren't necessarily ready for a modern workplace but evaluating what you have and optimizing it can save you a lot of money, rather than just adding new things.

What should leaders consider when looking at digital transformation?

Your backbone or structure is most important on how you connect to the internet in addition to voice dialing on your phone. If you don't have internet or internet-enabled devices, you really limit what you can do as a business. Sometimes having a backup as well. It needs to handle the bandwidth. It's not just about plugging in a router. Location matters, what kind of service is available in that location. Core infrastructure including firewall and router and switches that protects you from the outside world are all things that need to be considered. Basically, what do you need to connect to, how do I connect to it, what is the amount, and is it scalable? Then we can formulate a plan for the best connection & user experience.  When you look at enterprise companies with 1000 people - the question is why do you need all of the employees to come into the office? Is it compliance or legal reasons? Have you evaluated the cloud? Should we move it and host externally? Are your employees just using email, file sharing? Do they need some sort of security clearance so that they can only access certain files when connected to the company network?

What about a hybrid environment?

Businesses may consider a hybrid environment, especially with email. Email sitting in-house becomes really expensive and if there's a breakdown with the server, all email is down so we'll see clients move their email to the cloud as one of the first things to go to the cloud.

What's changed about IT support and how you lead your team since COVID-19 and the shift to fully remote?

Onsite support has become remote. It's important that we help people in the experience that they're having. We want to remote into experience what they're dealing with, whether it's spotty internet, a hotel room where you're 3 floors from the router, etc. Just because we're not on-site, doesn't mean we can't experience what they're experiencing. While remote, it's important to have more cadence than you're used to as a manager or department head. Your team is going through something totally new. Your IT team was supporting 7-9% of the company who was previously remote and now you have to support 97% of the company. In many cases, a lot of companies didn’t prepare for this but it still needs to be addressed. So it's important to have regular communication to have a close handle on what's going on.

How to Enable a Remote Workforce: Tools & Support

This week has been historical. Bars and gyms shutting down. Restaurants only offering takeout. Social distancing. Our regular routines have come to a halt.

How do we adapt to these never-before-seen circumstances?

People are starting 'virtual happy hours' and hanging out on FaceTime or Zoom with their friends. Musicians have taken up Facebook live to 'perform shows.' Gyms are offering virtual workouts on social media and other outlets.

And businesses across the country are trying to figure out how to put their best foot forward to enable a remote workforce that is both productive and secure. This article is going to lessen the fear and equip you with questions and ideas for what to do next as well as give you the knowledge of the tools that can address your needs. Ultimately, we're here to empower you to enable a productive remote workforce.

What your business will need to remain productive

In order for your employees to work remotely and out of their homes, there are a few things to consider that your business will need to do so successfully:

  1. Portable devices with access to the internet
  2. Productivity tools
  3. Mobile Management of devices
  4. Identity Management & Security
  5. Network and service monitoring

Portable Devices - Laptops, Tablets, Smart Phones

Currently, many hardware companies are on backorder and are having 2-3 week turnaround times. Fortunately, as a partner of these hardware companies, we tend to get it a bit faster. If we can help provide the devices for you, please contact us.

Most remote access is achieved through a remote tool such as a VPN, Remote Desktop, Windows Virtual Device or Direct Access. Any of these are viable options, it just depends on your infrastructure and what you're looking for. We're happy to chat about this in more detail with you.

Lastly, when remote, we likely won't have a desk phone. In fact, many offices don't have them anymore either. They have what you call a softphone (or desk-less phone). A softphone allows you to make and receive calls right from your device such as your laptop.

Productivity Tools, Meetings & Collaboration

Make sure once you have the devices, that they're equipped with tools that allow for video conferencing, word processing, emailing, file sharing, and other various applications.

It's critical that you have some sort of hub (such as Microsoft Teams, Slack, etc) for file sharing and team communication. This type of hub allows for realtime communication via video conferencing and instant messaging, allowing your team to always be connected.

With this sort of foundation in place, especially for larger organizations, you are enabling your users to access resources and share files across the web, mobile and desktop storing everything in the cloud. This means you can access your email, files, and more from anywhere. Additionally, users can create and share new files with who they need to.

Lastly, it's critical that your organization continues to communicate. With everyone siloed in their homes, video meetings and instant messaging are more crucial now in staying connected.

Mobile Management

This simply means having the ability to push and pull data and information to different devices so your users can be productive. This includes pushing to applications on-premise or in the cloud. Additionally, it also includes security policies and remote access and support. Your users are going to need all sorts of different data while remote, so it needs to be accessible to them.

With many new portable devices, this is a seamless and secure way to allow users to access company resources. Once their appropriate policies are set, they can then access things like their VPN. Additionally, it allows for ensuring devices are adhering to the policy by checking in on the device's health status.

Identity Management & Security

Identity Management is what we call the 'source of truth' which tells us which employees have access to which files, what applications they can access and which groups, departments, etc that they can communicate with. By setting up each employee's identity, they are able to get what they need when they need it without delay.

This is also an added layer of security. You're able to control who can access what and allow your employees to collaborate securely.

Network & Service Monitoring

There's an increased workload and usage with so many people working remotely, that it's important that you're monitoring the health of your systems. Make sure you have someone on staff (or outsource) that is able to remotely monitor application and network performance. This is critical in preventing breaches, which many companies are extra vulnerable to at this time. 

Questions to Consider When Implementing

Any change in an environment can cause unforeseen challenges or issues. Here are a few questions you should be asking as you prepare for or get started with a remote workforce:

  1. What happens if your IT person can't access your device remotely to help troubleshoot your issues?
  2. How limited in skillset is one IT person versus a whole team?
  3. How are you logging information to capture historical data of issues throughout your organization?
  4. Do you have support 24/7?

Need Help? We're Here.

As a Gold Certified Microsoft Partner, we can provide all the above, and quickly. Here's how we can help:

If you need assistance, or just want to consult, we want to help. You don't have to do this alone, we're in it together. Contact us today.

Coronavirus: Preparing Your Organization for Remote Work

[Updated 3/17/2020]

With COVID-19 continuing to spread throughout the United States, more and more organizations are starting to think of their business in new ways and put new policies into place to help prevent the spread of the infection. With the new guidelines in place, large venue events like South by Southwest Film Festival and Coachella are being canceled or postponed, the only sports we're currently getting are highlights and re-runs of previous games, and many organizations are leveraging online platforms for virtual events instead of their previously planned conferences.

Let's dive in and talk about what questions you should be asking yourself about your business and what steps you can take when it comes to best preparing your organization for the Coronavirus.

Watch our on-demand webinar - How to Empower Your Business & Stay Productive with our CEO Sean Ferrel.

What does Coronavirus mean for you and your business?

Here are a few recommendations to help you better prepare:

  1. Develop contingency plans. If one of your partners can no longer deliver their product or services, what does that mean for you and your customers? If one of your employees becomes sick/quarantined, or if their kids' schools get shut down, and they need to stay home with them, make sure there is a backup plan for their responsibilities.
  2. Prepare for loss or delay in sales. People are being extremely cautious right now, which means decisions for new products and services may be delayed.
  3. Communicate to and educate your employees. Make sure your employees are aware of your contingency plans and new or temporary remote work policies. This is also a time of vulnerability, and unfortunately, we see people take advantage of that through phishing and other malicious attacks. Make sure your employees are well equipped to spot a fake email.
  4. Develop your work remote policy. In the event that one of your employees gets infected or your city becomes quarantined, you still have a business to run. Make sure you have the right plans, tools, resources and infrastructure in order to enable and empower a remote workforce.

For a complete list, check out the CDC's Business Pandemic Planning Checklist PDF.

While the CDC checklist pertains to all aspects of the business from HR to leadership, it's imperative that you have a plan in place for employees to continue working in the event that your physical office location cannot be accessed.   Are you prepared if tomorrow you had to enact a remote workforce?


A Checklist for Preparing Your Business for a Remote Workforce

While many organizations today have already adapted a flexible work remote policy and/or employee full-time remote employees, there are still many businesses worldwide who have never even considered it (maybe until recently).  It's imperative that your infrastructure is capable in times of crisis, and it's easier than ever in 2020 with the right technology and tools. Here are some questions you should be asking yourself as you prepare for a remote workforce:

  1. Do you and your employees have the ability to access the right files?
  2. Do you and your employees have a way to share files in a secure way?
  3. Do you have mobile collaboration? In other words, do you have the right software and tools to communicate effectively from anywhere?
  4. Are you able to manage multiple employee devices securely? (Laptop, cell phone, tablet, etc)
  5. Do you have a business continuity plan?
  6. Who is handling your infrastructure on-premise?  For example, if something breaks and your server needs to be tended to, who can you rely on for that? If they get sick, who is your backup?
  7. Do you have a threat protection and prevention plan in place? During times of crisis, we often see that people try to take advantage of this vulnerability and phishing attacks increase. What do you have in place to help mitigate risk?

At Managed Solution, we have a flexible work remote policy, so we are no strangers on how to effectively work remotely.

Need help? Don't fret, whether you need to consult on the infrastructure to support it, the tools and software to empower your employees' productivity or need back up in the case of real danger, we can help. Contact us before it's too late. It can never hurt to have a plan in place.


Remote Work Tips: How to Stay Productive

  1. Make a communication plan: How do you plan to reach one another? Will email suffice? Probably not if for an extended time. Work with your IT team to set up call forwarding from work phones to cell phones. Exchange cell phone information if you haven't already. What other means of communication channels are available to you? Things like Skype, Teams, Slack, and Google Hangout are all available for instant messaging and video conferencing. If your company isn't already using one of those platforms, find out the best option for you and create a plan for its use.
  2. Use video. In addition to communicating, when away for extended periods, we might start to feel disconnected. By using video when talking with colleagues or in meetings, you still get a taste of that human interaction.
  3. Stick to your schedule: Maintain your regular working hours. People are relying on you just as you are them, so it's important to stick to your regularly scheduled programming. If you have to be offline for any reason, make sure you're communicating it to people who should be aware.
  4. Set ground rules with the people you live with. If you have kids, make sure they know that you're still 'at work' even though you are home - and let them know what they can and can't do during your office hours. If you have roommates, make sure there are boundaries set for things like quiet hours or use of the office space.
  5. Have a dedicated office space. This one can vary on your living space. If you have an extra office room, great, but if not, try to dedicate a desk or table that's just for work. That way, you stay focused and others around you know when you're working.
  6. Stay positive. Tone is hard to decipher via text only, so when communicating via email or IM, use the extra exclamation point or add in an emoji.

If this all feels a little overwhelming, we're quite the experts here whether you need more tips on remote work, or need help enabling remote work at your organization, and we would be more than happy to help. Click here to contact us to see how we can help your organization prepare.

Join a Skype Meeting with Skype for Business Web App [Updated for 2020]

Join a Skype Meeting with Skype for Business Web App

As written on
This article has been updated for 2020.

Skype for Business will be sunsetting on July 31, 2021. Have no fear though, as Microsoft Teams will replace it for all your communication needs and empower you to do even more.

What's Teams? Microsoft Teams is a unified communication and collaboration platform that combines instant messaging, calling, meetings, file sharing, app integration and everything you essentially need to collaborate with your team, no matter where you all are.

If you are a current Skype user, the below still applies and will until it's expired. However, new users that wish to sign up for Skype for Business will be redirected to Teams.

Whether you're new to Microsoft or have been a long time user of Skype, you should be very excited about the transition to Microsoft Teams. Skype is very limited in its capabilities - sure you can chat, make calls and have meetings, but the functionality ends there. Microsoft Teams does all of that and more. Here are some awesome features of Microsoft Teams:

On top of all these great features, you can organize and sort them by different "teams" - clever, right? For example, you can have a "Marketing" Team within Teams that the marketing and sales team to access collateral. You can also have an "All Staff" Team in which everyone in the company has access to. Additionally, you could have an "Executive" team where only the leadership team has access. With these different permissions, you can restrict and control which employees have access to what and keep communication and collaboration organized.

Want to learn more about the benefits of Teams? Read more about Microsoft Teams as the ultimate collaboration tool.


If you don’t have the desktop version of Skype for Business, or don’t have a Skype for Business account, you can use Skype for Business Web App to join a Skype Meeting from your browser.
IMPORTANT: You don't need to download or install any apps to join a Skype Meeting with Skype for Business Web App. Just select the link in the meeting request email and follow the instructions in the browser window to join.
If you're having difficulty joining, check out Trouble installing the Skype for Business Web App Plug-in?.

Join the meeting

Here are the basic steps to join a Skype Meeting from Skype for Business Web App:
    1. Open the meeting request in your email or calendar and select Join Skype Meeting.
    2. Enter your name on the sign-in screen and select Join the meeting.
    3. Follow your browser's instructions for installing the Skype for Business Web App Plug-in, which is required for audio, video, and screen sharing.
    4. Depending on the meeting options set by the organizer, you'll either join the meeting immediately, or be directed to the virtual lobby.Skype for Business Web App virtual lobby
    5. If you're in the lobby, the meeting organizer and other presenters are immediately notified that you're waiting.
      Admit someone who is waiting in the lobby
If you run in to trouble, or just want more detail, read on:
  1. To begin, do one of the following:
    • If you have Outlook or Outlook Web App, go to your Calendar, open the meeting request, and select Join Skype Meeting.
    • Open the email with the meeting request and select Join Skype Meeting.
      TIP:  If you’re having trouble joining the meeting, open an InPrivate Browsing session in Internet Explorer and try joining the meeting again.
  2. When Skype for Business Web App opens, do one of the following to join the meeting:
    • To join as a guest, enter your name and select Join the meeting.
    • To join a meeting set up by someone in your organization, select Sign in if you are from the organizer’s company orSign in if you are an Office 365 user, and then enter the same user name and password you use to sign in to your organization's network.
    TIP: Select Remember me on this computer to help speed up the join process the next time you use Skype for Business Web App. This option also gives you more choices for connecting to meeting audio the next time you join.
  3. Follow your browser’s instructions for downloading and installing the plug in. For example, in Internet Explorer, select Run when you see the alert at the bottom of the browser window.
    IMPORTANT: The Skype for Business Web App plug-in is required for audio, video, and screen sharing, so you should install it even if you plan to call in to the meeting by phone. You only need to install it once.
  4. In the Skype for Business Web App plug-in security alert, select Allow.
  5. If a Windows Firewall security alert appears, it’s OK to select Cancel if you don’t have administrator privileges on your computer. This won't affect your meeting.
  6. If you’ve already joined the meeting and the plug-in didn’t install, point to the phone icon and select Call to start the installation process.

Join the meeting with the desktop version of Skype for Business if the meeting request is from someone in your organization

If the meeting request is from a colleague or co-worker, you may be able install and use the desktop version of Skype for Business for more features and flexibility during the meeting. If your organization uses Office 365, you can install Skype for Business and other desktop apps from the Office 365 portal. Otherwise, contact your workplace technical support—typically the person who set up your Skype for Business account —for the location of the download.

Join with Skype for Business Web App if Skype for Business desktop is installed

In some cases you may want to join a meeting with Skype for Business Web App even if the desktop version of Skype for Business is installed.
  1. In the meeting request, right-click or tap and hold the  Join Skype Meeting link, and select Copy Hyperlink.
  2. Paste the meeting link into a browser address box, and add ?sl=1 at the end. For example:
  3. Press Enter to join the meeting with Skype for Business Web App.

If you found this article interesting, you might want to check out some of our information on Microsoft Teams. Learn more about Microsoft Teams here.