Contrary to what many people think, Outlook isn't just for email. It can be used to good effect when managing a team or even just sorting out a project among your colleagues, when a larger programme such as Project might be overkill. If you have the full Office suite, then you can also integrate your Outlook use with Word, Excel and other programs to make managing your team easier. Here are three ways you could use Outlook to make your management tasks easier (and for more info, check out our Office 365 end user training courses).

1. Share Contacts

Some businesses especially sales, and those that are very customer orientated, need to share their contacts. Have you ever had the problem where a key contact usually only communicates with one staff member, and so when they're off sick or absent, nobody knows their contact details and you're stuck?

Not so if you keep a regularly updated contacts database in Outlook, and share it as you would business cards. You can moderate the access - after all, you have to think about Data Protection too - but you can make sure that the right teams of people have the right contacts, and for the right business reasons.

2. Manage your meetings with the Calendar

Leaving a post-it note on someone's desk as a reminder may work - but only if they see it. They could also take it off their monitor, lose or forget about it, and that's the reminder lost. Not so if you set up reminders remotely through Outlook. Rather than have a post-it or an alarm go off, the person reminded will get a pop-up on their screen. They can "snooze" it and it will remind them later, but at least the software will be persistent!

Your meeting appointments themselves can be managed more effectively through outlook. If you have a group email address for your team, then you can also share each other's calendars and check when someone's available, rather than sending a redundant invitation to a meeting that won't get picked up.

People can also choose whether to attend, tentatively attend or decline a request to come to a meeting, preventing you from booking rooms that won't get used, and allowing you to focus on the content of the meeting itself rather than trying to organise the logistics.

3. Don't forget the obvious - email

Obviously, email is the strongest tool in the Outlook portfolio, and serves as its primary function. You can use email to your advantage by using it as a time management tool when sorting out your team.

For example, picking up the phone to invite someone to a one to one or a review takes about ten minutes, after the pleasant chit chat and hellos, it's at least a couple of minutes before you can get around to the purpose of your call. Sending an email is faster and more streamlined. Don't forget the personal touch, though - sometimes it's better to go over to someone's desk and say hello in person, since email can often be viewed as laziness - especially if they are sitting a couple of metres away from you!

Outlook can help you and your team share contacts, speed up communication, plan meetings, as well as monitor the progress of projects. All by using Outlook alongside your other programs. It is worth taking a few minutes to look at how you use Outlook and find out if it can help you to streamline your work, save you time and improve your business outcomes.