Managing availability with Microsoft Teams is made easy

After the PM’s announcement in March; those of us who were still office based grabbed our screens, laptops, desk phones and, for those with big enough cars, their office chairs.  For us, we were up and running within an hour or so, in our widely dispersed, virtual String office.

We were all still very connected.  We had email, video calling, our office phones, our mobile phones, texts, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.  Communicating with my remote colleagues couldn’t have been easier. In fact it was too easy:  If someone didn’t answer their office phone, try their mobile.  If that didn’t work, email and text them.  With so many ways of connecting to each other it very quickly started to become a bit, well, chaotic.  On numerous occasions I’d be answering my mobile, while on a Teams video call and checking my inbox.

We had become too connected.  When we were in the office; if you couldn’t get hold of someone, and their diary said they were free; you’d just pop round to their office to see if they were available.  In the world of home working, that option was abruptly removed.  Something needed to be done, and the answer was simple…

Managing availability with Microsoft Teams

Simple?  Well yes, we ‘simply’ told everyone to use Microsoft Teams, and only Microsoft Teams.  As long as your diary is up to date, and accurately reflects what you are doing; then the Presence functionality does its job perfectly.  If you need somebody, you’ll be able to see if they are ‘busy’ or ‘in a call’ by their status icon. It’ll display red, green or yellow based on their availability. Managing availability with Microsoft Teams is as easy as that, it’s all done for you. Or you can update your availability manually from the command box. So if you’re working on something and don’t want to be disturbed, you can let your colleagues now by simply selecting you preferred status option.

Managing availability with Microsoft Teams

Status Options

  • Available is when you’re active in Teams and don’t have anything in your calendar (no meetings or calls, for example). Note that Teams will automatically set your status from Available to Away when you lock your computer or when it enters idle or sleep mode. On mobile, this will happen when the Teams app is in the background.
  • Busy is when you want to focus on something, and you do want notifications to pop up.  If you’re in a meeting or call, Teams will automatically change your status to In a meeting or In a call (Busy) when not set to Do not disturb.
  • Do not disturb is when you want to focus or present your screen and don’t want notifications to pop up.
  • Be right back is when you want to say you’re temporarily away. It’s never set automatically.
  • Appear away is when you need to work without responding right away.
  • Appear offline is when you want to indicate that you’re not signed in to Teams, so will not be responding until you’re back online. You’ll still receive notifications if anyone messages you.

Of course, Teams didn’t just provide a way of dealing with over connectivity.  By using all the features available, such as telephony, automated transcription, white boards, screen sharing and forms; we’ve found that the whole String team have become more productive and engaged.

It’s one thing to create marketing material that tells prospective clients how we can help their colleagues to become more productive and engaged; it’s another thing to find yourselves absolutely reliant on the same technology to function.  We’re just grateful that our solution portfolio places Microsoft Teams at the forefront of our offering, and that we can say, with absolute confidence, that the technology works.

If you’re feeling ‘too connected’, or worse, not connected enough; why not take a look at our Microsoft Modern Workplace solution here.

As always, stay safe and stay connected.

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