Last November, it was announced that Microsoft is working on a new update that allows users to set their presence status in Teams to “Not present”. This feature is now being rolled out in public preview on the Teams desktop app and on the Internet, making it easier for users to keep their colleagues informed of their availability status.
“Let others know that you’re not available by scheduling your absence from Teams. During this time, your presence status changes to “Not in the Office” and your status message appears when someone contacts you via chat. In addition, your Outlook calendar and automatic replies are updated accordingly,” the company explained on the Microsoft 365 roadmap.
To try the feature, users must sign up for the Microsoft Teams public preview program. Microsoft has described a number of ways to schedule the Absence feature on the Internet or the Teams desktop app. For those already enrolled in a public preview, you’ll need to click on your profile picture and see if the “Schedule Absence” option is available.
There is an option to set up a message for users to let others know that they would not be available to respond for a certain period of time. The status would be visible when colleagues or attendees contact them via chat. Users can also choose to send automatic responses to people outside their organization and select dates and times to start and end the absence status message and attendance status.
In addition, Teams users can go to Settings to access this option. To do this, click General> Away> Schedule, and then turn on the “Enable Automatic Responses” switch button. Finally, add text to the automatic response message and configure other options. Microsoft said this absence status is also synchronized with the user’s Outlook calendar, presence, and contact information.
It’s good to see teams desktop and web apps help users get off their desks and escape the storm of alerts during short breaks or vacations. At the time of writing, the Microsoft 365 roadmap says the feature is in development and expected to be widely available later this month, although that timeline is subject to change.