The Covid-19 pandemic has changed many things, and one of the most significant changes we have seen is how we work. With thousands of office workers sent to work from home, remote working has become part of the 'new normal. Even now, as we start to see the light at the end of the tunnel and ease out of the Coronavirus restrictions, lots of businesses are allowing employees to continue with this more flexible working pattern for a better work-life balance. Whether you have this approach in mind, or want to future proof your company from any other out of the blue events that may occur, it is important for business owners to invest in technologies and systems that make it easy, efficient and cost-effective for workers to remain at home. One of the best ways to do this is via Microsoft Teams.
Microsoft Teams pricing
Many of us only heard of Teams during the last 18 months, but it isn't a new platform; in fact, Microsoft originally launched it back in 2017. When the pandemic hit, Teams rapidly grew in popularity, with 95 million new users signing up in 2020, making it one of the fastest-growing apps of Covid-19. There are now 145 million active daily users and over 500,000 businesses using the system to make remote working as easy as in the office.
If you're looking to make the switch to Microsoft Teams, here's a look at how much it costs and the different plans available.
What is the price for Microsoft Teams?
Microsoft Teams is for businesses of all sizes, so many price plans are available to suit different companies. While a free version is available, the paid plans are of good value as they also include the essential applications within the Microsoft product range.
The Microsoft Office 365 Business Basic is the best option for companies that need remote solutions for their team. This package includes Microsoft Teams and secure cloud storage, Exchange, OneDrive, SharePoint, and online-only versions of Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. You get full access to the Teams functions, including video calling and instant messaging chat. There is a maximum meeting duration of 24 hours (so you won't be cut off after 60 minutes). Other features include meeting scheduling, screen sharing, file storage (1TB per organisation plus 10GB per license), and more for up to 300 users. This bundle is £3.80 + VAT a month as part of an annual subscription. You can give it a try before you commit with a one-month free trial.
If you feel you need a bit more, there's the Microsoft 365 Business Standard package. This bundle includes the full desktop versions of the Microsoft Office Suite: secure cloud storage, professional email platform Outlook, Exchange, OneDrive, SharePoint, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher and Access. On top of all Teams functions available in the Basic package, you get the option to host webinars (including registration, email confirmations and reporting tools) and schedule meetings with customers and clients via Microsoft Bookings. Microsoft 365 Business Standard is available for £9.40 + VAT per month on an annual subscription. Again, you can see if this is the right package for you with a free one-month trial.
There's also a free, no commitment version of Microsoft Teams available, which we'll look at below.
The other online video call and messaging platform that you've probably heard of is Zoom. Another app that rose during Covid-19, Zoom, allows your team to chat and have meetings throughout the day. However, you don't have the option to integrate it with your Microsoft Office suite, so it's not as efficient if you regularly use the Office 365 tools. Prices for Zoom start from $11.99 (US dollars). There is a free version available but no free trial, so you can't try before committing to the monthly payments.
How do you get Microsoft Teams for free?
If you're looking to get Microsoft Teams for free, a free version of the app is available. Alternatively, there are free trials of the paid-for versions available to test it out.
The free version of Microsoft Teams does allow you to video call, instant message, screen share and schedule meetings, but there are some limitations to the functions. You can only have up to 100 participants; meetings are capped at 60 minutes, you can't record meetings, there's a max file size of 2GB per user for files sent in chat and only 10GB of cloud storage. If you use other Microsoft Office tools in your business, these aren't included in your plan, so you'll only gain access to the web versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
The free version also doesn't entitle you to the support and admin functions of the paid plans, meaning you don't get admin tools for managing users, reporting or analytics, configurable settings or 24-hour phone or web support.
It all depends on your business and how you work, so be sure to have a list of exactly what you need to weigh whether it's worth investing in the paid version or if the free plan will work for you.
Can you buy just Microsoft Teams?
At present, Microsoft Teams is only available alone via the free version of the app. However, most businesses use other Microsoft Office apps, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc., plus the benefit of secure cloud storage make it worthwhile getting the <a href="https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/microsoft-teams/compare-microsoft-teams-options">paid-for versions</a>. If you're not sure if they are suitable for your company, you can get a one-month free trial before you commit.
If you're planning to continue a more flexible approach to working or have staff across multiple locations that need to work closely together, investing in Microsoft Teams will be invaluable for your business. Be sure to work out precisely what you need to help keep your business running and then select the appropriate plan for you.