Are Office 365 shared mailboxes good for collaboration?

Nowadays, more and more businesses rely on inter-department collaboration and communication.

It’s become increasingly critical in the last few years, and many email service providers and third parties are now offering email collaboration tools or added features. It’s certainly the case with Microsoft’s shared mailbox on Office 365.

In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about Office 365 shared mailboxes: what it means, how to use it, its benefits & how to connect it to your Missive account for added features.

What is an Office 365 shared mailbox?

Simply put, shared mailboxes are email inboxes that multiple teammates or colleagues can access.

Office 365 shared mailbox is Microsoft’s version of this delegation tool and is available for all users who have an Outlook mailbox email address. The shared account needs to be created by an admin account that can then edit permissions through the account settings by inviting collaborators. When adding collaborators, you can choose between the following mailbox permissions: full access, send as or send on behalf.

Everyone who has access to a Microsoft Outlook account can create, share, or be invited to a shared mailbox and can read, reply to, forward emails, and write new emails.

It’s worth noting that the Office 365 shared mailbox can be accessed from the same login information, but invites will be sent through individual user email accounts. Shared mailboxes are free and any user can have complete access to an unlimited number of shared mailboxes, but each shared mailbox has a data storage limit of 50GB.

You can’t log into a shared mailbox directly using Outlook or Outlook Web App (OWA): you must first be granted permissions to the shared mailbox. Additionally, if you have automapping enabled in your business (by default), the shared mailbox will automatically appear in your user’s Outlook app after you restart Outlook.

Finally, if you use Outlook for iOS or Outlook for Android, you can add or access a shared mailbox on the Outlook Mobile app.

Image of an Office 365 shared mailbox in the Outlook UI
To your teammates (mailbox members), it looks like one more folder in their Outlook navigation pane.

Why use an Office 365 shared mailbox?

Sharing emails from a shared mailbox address has many advantages, like:

Better productivity

One of the most significant benefits of a shared mailbox is its productivity among team members. Everyone who has access to this shared email account has a complete overview of the incoming emails and can monitor threads without forwarding them.

Better transparency

With a shared mailbox, everyone can see the whole email message chain and threads, allowing clear transparency and no more chasing for information from coworkers while reducing the risk of missing an email or replying twice.

Better responsiveness

Is someone out of the office for the day? Other team members can still respond to messages for better responsiveness. This can help your customer service as any team member can respond to inquiries faster.

But is Microsoft Office 365 shared mailbox the perfect fit for them? Keep on reading, and you will find out.

How to create a shared mailbox with Office 365

Creating a shared mailbox is relatively simple if you already have an Office 365 Outlook account. Here are a few steps:

  1. Sign in with a global admin account or Exchange admin center.
  2. In the Office 365 admin center, go to the Teams & Groups > Shared mailboxes page.
  3. On the Shared mailboxes page, select + Add a shared mailbox. Enter a name for the shared mailbox.
  4. Select Save.
  5. Under Next steps, select Add members to this mailbox. Members are the people who will be able to view the incoming mail to this shared mailbox and the outgoing replies. It can be a group of people or individual users.
  6. Select the + Add members button. Put a checkmark next to the people you want to use this shared mailbox, and then select Save.
  7. There you go! You can now use your shared mailbox.

Are Office 365 shared mailboxes enough?

Although shared mailboxes are a good idea in almost every department, Office 365’s version offers significant limitations, such as the lack of integrations with other apps and functionalities, but most importantly, flawed collaboration:

  1. You can’t coordinate with teammates on who should take care of an email.
  2. You can’t chat with teammates in the context of an email thread.
  3. You can’t create tasks related to the specific email.

Because an Office 365 shared mailbox, at its core, is just a sharing mechanism. It lacks the collaboration tools needed to improve your team productivity.

But you are lucky, you found us! We, at Missive, provide powerful team collaboration features on top of any Office 365 accounts (regular accounts or shared mailboxes).

Once everything is set up, you and your team will have access to the history of your shared account but under a perfectly crafted collaborative interface.

Missive is a shared mailbox on steroids!

Collaborative writing

Get feedback from your teammates in real-time, as they can highlight text, make changes or leave comments in the draft composer’s comment column.

Collaborative draft editor
A colleague fixes a typo.

Chat around emails

Chatting around emails is a crucial feature for true team collaboration. It allows team members to communicate and solve the customer's issues right in the context of their emails.

Internal chat screenshot

Share labels

Create team labels to get more organized in your email management. Easily create them right from a conversation or from the Labels tab in your settings. You can even customize the color or add a unique icon.

Assign emails and create tasks

With Missive, you can assign emails or conversations to a single user or a group of people. When it is assigned to you, it will appear at the top of your Inbox. The conversation will also appear in Assigned to me and your Inbox.

Share canned response

With saving time in mind, Missive allows you to create templates or canned responses that you can share with a team. Canned responses are predetermined responses to common questions. This means that you and your team have a ready-made answer for each question, and you don't have to come up with a new response each time.

Inserting a response in a draft is really easy with the search option.

When dealing with common questions, having a canned response ready to go can be beneficial. You can quickly and easily give the recipient the information they need without having to come up with something from scratch each time. This can be helpful in many situations, such as customer service or sales.

Integrate with your tools

You can connect integrations like Asana, Hubspot, Trello, and Shopify. This allows you to manage your workflows and tasks in one place. Having all of your tools in one place makes it easier to stay organized and get work done.

And more!

You will also be able to customize your user interface by choosing between three themes, assigning tasks and conversations, handling events from a calendar within the app, etc.

Missive is the best email collaboration tool

Missive is the best tool to help you improve your team communication and customer service; it will make your team uber-efficient. We could try to highlight all of Missive’s features, but we figured that our customer’s words speak for themselves:

We love Missive, the collaboration is on par with what we were able to achieve with Spark however we've made several improvements since we moved to Missive. The rules in missive are so powerful and keep my inbox clean so I can truly stay focused on the emails that matter. Takes a little fine tuning to get your rules perfect but once they're done, it runs like magic!

Craig Wilson on Trustpilot