WFH Tip: How to Use Test Call in Microsoft Teams
Last week Microsoft Teams celebrated its third anniversary and it’s been almost that long since the Quadrotech team has been using the service as our collaboration tool of choice.
While our team is well trained at utilizing the Microsoft Teams features (meetings, chat, channels, etc.), we recognize that many organizations, their admins, and end-users have been ‘thrown in the deep end’ so to speak with ‘shelter in place’ mandates and work from home initiatives due to Covid-19. And, for many organizations, implementing Microsoft Teams security best practices, may not have been top of mind.
In fact, the number of Microsoft Teams daily users grew by 12 million the week of March 16, 2020, and those users generated 900 million meetings and calling minutes on Teams each day that week.
Alongside the platform’s anniversary, new capabilities were announced with a focus on improving the online meeting experience and supplying solutions to Firstline workers (including healthcare workers). You can find an overview of new and upcoming improvements here.
Looking to help where we can, Paul Robichaux hosted a webinar to share his advice on getting remote workers up and running on Microsoft Teams as quickly as possible. This session covered five different ‘lessons’, including:
- Deciding ‘what good looks like’
- Setting up your network for success
- Setting up your Teams ‘skeleton’
- Coaching your users, quickly
- Improvising, adapting, and overcoming
While the session was mainly geared towards admins and business leaders implementing Microsoft Teams as a collaboration tool, there was one end-user tip that I think is hugely helpful for new-to-remote-working users – the Test Call functionality.
What is Test Call in Microsoft Teams?
It’s pretty self-explanatory but Test Call makes a call to a bot and captures your audio and video so you can assess the quality and ensure your mic, speakers, and camera are set up properly in Microsoft Teams.
As a new work-from-home user, you may be faced with one or both of these scenarios:
- You are trying to set up new devices. Paul recommends using this feature each time you set up a new device or switch between audio/visual devices
- You have a constantly changing workspace. It’s a good idea to use Test Call if you’re moving your workspace location for a change of scenery or by necessity (from the living room to kitchen or home office for example). In this scenario, Test Call will help you determine if there’s an echo or loud fan in one room of your house or gives you fair warning that there’s a NSFW poster or personal info behind you from one angle, or perhaps a heap of laundry you don’t want your coworkers to see… If this does happen to be the case, look into the Blur Background Microsoft Teams feature!
How to use Test Call in Microsoft Teams
Accessing Test Call
You have two options: the Test Call Command, or through Settings.
Option A: Test Call Command/Shortcut
Type /testcall in the Teams search bar and hit Enter. The test call will start immediately.
Option B: Settings
Click on your picture/user icon in the top right corner and click Settings.
Navigate to the Devices option in the left column.
Click the Make a test call button.
After the beep, say a few test phrases and wait until the next beep. The captured audio will be played back for you to assess. You can also see your video preview; adjust your nearby lighting or the camera angle if necessary.
After the call, you’ll receive your test call results. If everything is connected correctly, you’ll see the below screen:
If there are any issues with your audio/visual, you’ll get a red notice as in the below screen:
Based on your results, you can make adjustments to your devices (go back to Settings >> Devices in Teams and check the audio settings on your computer) and retry to confirm your changes were successful.
Hopefully, this Microsoft Teams feature will help you minimize stressors related to audio/visual technology while possibly lessening the load on your company’s help desk as they work through other issues.
For more tips on maximizing Microsoft Teams, check out Randy Rempel’s guide on how to add custom background images.