Goodbye Skype – get ready for Teams

King County is currently in the midst of an exciting move from Skype to Microsoft Teams for all communications needs, including calls, meetings, and chats/instant messages. Some employees have already made the switch to Teams, and the remainder will move by the end of the year. 

“Microsoft is ending Skype, and Teams is a great replacement tool,” Scott Helke, KCIT training program manager said. “In addition, critical federal CARES Act funding was available if we moved to Teams in 2020; hence our quick turnaround.”

Microsoft Teams helps employees working remotely and increases workplace efficiency by combining several features into one tool. Users can attend meetings, call, chat and share documents, plus connect to other Microsoft tools like Outlook and SharePoint. 

More than 5,500 King County employees will make the switch to Teams by the end of December. “Feedback has been pretty positive. New Teams users like the better stability of meetings,” Helke said. “My favorite new feature is the chat. These stick around for 24 hours in Teams, so it’s nice to be able to go back and review conversations.”

To keep the move to Teams orderly, users are being moved in carefully selected groups. When a user receives Service Alerts about their move, please do not forward these alerts to anyone else. Doing so can confuse other staff about their scheduled time to move to Teams.

Natural Resources and Parks employees will move to Teams next week, followed by the Executive Department, Local Services, Executive Services and finally, the Sheriff’s Office. 

Human Resources (DHR) recently made the switch to Teams, and employees have adapted well to the new platform and what it offers. Users say the support of KCIT has helped to make the transition smoother. “I really appreciate all the training KCIT is giving us,” Kimberly Robinson, DHR Administrator said. 

Live training in the Teams Learning Lab are scheduled for the day each wave of employees move to Teams, and Q&A Labs are available the day after. The training sessions get new users up to speed quickly and help troubleshoot common issues. 

To get ready for Teams, you can access online training anytime via the KCIT Training Hub. Still have questions? Read these FAQs, or ask the Teams Champion in your department. The KCIT Helpdesk can provide additional assistance.