Microsoft Teams will soon allow users to set a duration for their presence status

20 November 2020

At Ignite 2020, Microsoft announced that it’s working on improvements for the online presence feature in Microsoft Teams. As a part of this change, the company released a new Offline Status option last month, and it’s now rolling out another feature called “Presence Status duration.”

The new status duration option in the presence menu allows users to set a certain status for a specific period of time. For example, they will be able to set their status settings to “Do not disturb” for 30 minutes, one hour, two hours, or the entire day or whole week.

Additionally, end-users can also opt for a custom duration option if they want their presence to last longer. After the respective duration expires, Microsoft Teams will automatically reset the user’s presence status back to Available. Moreover, this setting overrides other events such as calendar meetings or calls in Microsoft Teams.

The ability to set duration on presence status in Teams could help anyone who wants to take short breaks during working hours. It should also allow remote workers to focus on dedicated tasks that demand close concentration.

IT Admins can now let employees test unreleased Microsoft Teams features

20 November 2020

Microsoft has quietly launched the public preview program for Microsoft Teams, which was announced earlier this month. Microsoft MVP Randy Chapman noticed that Office 365 Admins can now allow users to try out unreleased features on the Teams desktop or web client.

With the new pre-release channel, Microsoft Teams admins will be able to toggle a setting to give users in their tenant the option to opt-in or opt-out for preview features. It’s part of a broader Microsoft’s effort to deliver end users’ ability to explore and test pre-release features in the Teams app.

“Public Preview for Microsoft Teams provides early access to unreleased features in Teams. Previews allow you to explore and test upcoming features. We also welcome feedback on any feature in public previews. Public preview is enabled each Teams user, so you don’t need to worry about affecting your entire organization,” the company explained.

IT Admins will find the new policy in the Microsoft Teams Admin center. To enroll in the public preview program, sign in to the admin center, select Teams > Update policies, and turn on the “Show preview features” setting.






Once the option is enabled, end-users will need to follow these steps to enable the public preview on their desktop or web clients. Click the Profile picture, then navigate to About > Public preview, and select “Switch to Public preview” when prompted. 

It is important to note that it might take up to 24 hours for this change to take effect across the entire organization. Furthermore, since the pre-release channel is rolling out gradually, so you may not see it right away. The rollout should be complete by the end of this month.

How to make yourself Available, Busy or Offline in Microsoft Teams

20 November 2020

Microsoft Teams has support for “presence statuses” which let you signal your availability to your colleagues. Teams will automatically switch you between statuses based on your usage of the app – you’ll appear as Away when the app’s been in the background for a while, or Busy if you’ve got a calendar appointment blocked off in Outlook.

To manually change your status, click your profile picture in the top-right of the app. Below your name, you’ll see your current status. Click or hover this to see and select the available presence modes.






















“Available” is the default and signifies that you’re ready to participate in a conversation. “Busy” shows you’re concentrating on a task, while “Do not disturb” will suppress notifications and convey to your co-workers that you want to stay focused. There’s also “Be right back”, for short breaks, and “Appear away” (forcefully enter the “Away” state used when the app’s in the background).

The final option, “Appear offline”, will remove your presence altogether – other users won’t see that you’re signed into the app. This could be helpful if you’re checking messages outside of work hours and don’t want to be pulled into an unplanned conversation.

Once set, your status will be visible as the coloured icon in the bottom-right of your profile picture. It’ll be visible to all Teams users. Microsoft is currently working on adding support for timed status expirations, so that you could choose to mark yourself as “Busy” for the next hour before automatically reverting to “Available”.