Step-By-Step Instructions for Setting Presence in Teams

Your presence status lets your coworkers know if you’re at your desk and available for communication. Just like Skype for Business, Teams will automatically update your status based on your calendar and your activity. (If you’re inactive for 5 minutes, your status will change to away. If you have a meeting scheduled, it will say, In a Meeting.)

To Set your Status Manually

  1. Click on your photo in the top right corner
  2. Hover over your status and choose from the options
AvailableIndicates you’re at your desk and available for contact by chat or call
BusyIndicates you’re at your desk but busy working and wouldn’t like to be disturbed
Do not DisturbSilences all notifications, so no calls or messages from other users will come through
AwayIndicates you’re not at your desk.

Change Your Status with the Command Bar

  1. Type a backslash to indicate to Teams you’re giving it a command
  2. Type in your desired status: “available” “busy” “away” or “dnd” for do not disturb.
  3. The command bar will let you know it’s completing your command
  4. Microsoft Teams will change your status

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18 Comments

  • Nancy says:

    “If you’re inactive for 5 minutes, your status will change to away.”

    If I have Teams pulled up on my desktop and am actively working in other programs, why does Teams change my status to “away?” I’m not really inactive/away I just haven’t received a message in a while.

    Every 5 minutes (literally) I have to change my status from “away” to “available” This is VERY time consuming and a lot of the time I can’t do it every five minutes, I can only do it as often as I notice it has changed.

    How do I adjust the length of time it takes for your status to be changed to “away?”
    If length of time adjustment is not an option, are there any other solutions? (this is not efficient!)

    • Stephanie Hamrick says:

      Hi Nancy,

      This was a known issue for a small percentage of Microsoft Teams users that should have been resolved with a recent update. Can you confirm you have the most recent version of Teams?

  • Nancy says:

    I just asked Teams to look for updates, it said it would “search and install while I continue working” The action seems to be completed by i’m not sure how to tell if any updates occurred. I am going to restart and then test the function for 24 hours. I will report back if this solves the issue. THANK YOU!

    • Stephanie Hamrick says:

      Hi Nancy,

      You’re welcome! If this doesn’t resolve the issue, can you open Teams in the Web App and see if the issue persists there?

      • Sam says:

        How do you change the time for showing automatic status changes?

        • Stephanie Hamrick says:

          Hi Sam, sounds like you’re thinking of the functionality that Skype for Business had that allowed you to change how many minutes of inactivity could go by before Skype would change your status to “Away.” Unfortunately, Teams does not have this capability, and it’s not on Microsoft’s road map to introduce to Teams at this time. I’m sorry to have such bad news!

  • Amy says:

    Right now, my Outlook is still syncing my status with Skype. I logged out of Skype to use Teams. Is Outlook going to eventually sync statuses with Teams so I can see who is actually Available, Away, Busy, etc? The switchover date for the company i work for is tomorrow, April 3. Maybe that fix will take place once we no longer have Skype as an option? Thanks!

    • Stephanie Hamrick says:

      Hi Amy, go into your Teams Settings and in the general settings, select the checkbox next to “Register Teams as the chat app for Office (requires restarting Office applications).” This will tell Outlook to read your status from Teams instead of Skype for Business. However, you’re also right in that when your IT admins set your inter-op mode between Skype and Teams with Teams as the only available client to users, that this will fix the problem as well.

  • Rich says:

    Mine is switching to “away” after a few minutes. This is completely annoying. Teams is not our main software. Leave me alone with this annoying glitch.

    How can I stop my status from changing to away once and for all? Thanks

    • Stephanie Hamrick says:

      Hi Rich, can you have your IT Admin check your inter-op mode in the Microsoft Teams admin center? If your inter-op mode is not set to Teams only, Teams will only track your activity while you’re using Teams instead of tracking your availability while you’re doing anything on your computer. There is no setting to keep it “available” at all times. However, you could put up a status message that says “Available even when ‘Away'” as a temporary fix until you get your interoperability mode figured out. Also, make sure you’re using the Desktop client and not the web client.

  • Karyn says:

    Why is my status on teams always show available when I’m away for more than 5-15 minutes, I asked my IT guy and he says, it has to do with my setting so I checked the setting it’s nothing wrong so not sure what happen, please advise

    • Stephanie Hamrick says:

      Hi Karyn, unfortunately I don’t have enough information to diagnose your problem, but I can walk you through some possible solutions. Can you please specify what you mean by “away?” do you mean after you’ve logged off of Teams, after you’ve walked away from your computer without logging off, after you’ve minimized the Teams window? If you’re leaving your computer without logging off, then Teams doesn’t know you’re gone. You can change your status to away and make sure if you’re logged into the mobile app that it’s not keeping your status as “available.” Teams will only change your status to away when your mouse/keyboard isn’t used on your computer for several minutes, so if you want the change to be immediate, you’ll need to change your presence. Presence is also affected by events in your Outlook calendar, so we also advise checking there, too! Let me know if this answers your question!

  • Terri says:

    So, if I’m on a phone call and are clearly not “away”, but don’t want to have to wiggle my mouse, Teams shows me as away?! That is not a great function to set in stone and not enable a user to change. I have a lot of job functions that do not involve direct use of my computer every 5 minutes (and I would imagine most professionals do more than just computer work. I dislike VERY much that Teams/Microsoft determines (and by default my teammates and company might likewise determine) that I am away/unavailable.

    • Stephanie Hamrick says:

      Hi Terri, we’re sorry you’re so frustrated with Microsoft Teams, but hopefully a better understanding of how Teams works will help. If you’re actively using Teams, in a call or meeting, your presence is not going to change to “Away.” You don’t have to wiggle your mouse. The purpose of the presence status is not to tell people “you’re working,” it’s to let people know you’d be able to take and respond to communications. If your job takes you away from your computer, then you’re not able to respond to chats or calls at that moment, so your presence reflects that by not being “available.” This is the purpose of Teams, but it sounds like your organization is viewing it a bit differently, so here are some workarounds I have for you. One, download the Teams mobile app. This can keep your presence as “available” when you’re logged in and also has the added benefit of making sure you’re accessible when you’re not on your computer. Second, consider setting a custom status message in Teams. Users will see this when they view your contact card and you can even have it selected to show up when they message you. This could say something like, “Working on XYZ task away from my computer” so that people know you’re working and where you are at. I know these aren’t perfect solutions, but hopefully they help you find a way to repurpose Teams functionality for how it works best for your business! Let me know if you have any other questions!

  • Karen says:

    Teams is tied to my outlook calendar. If I have a meeting on my calendar that automatically sets my status to ‘Busy’, if I take this call away from my laptop, will Teams update my status to ‘Away’ or will it stay ‘Busy’? Alternatively, if I manually set my status to ‘Busy’ but walk away from my computer, does Teams override with ‘Away’?

    Its crazy that Teams doesn’t give you the option to adjust the ‘Away’ setting – its a HUGE downside any way you look at it.

    • Stephanie Hamrick says:

      Hi Karen, presence in Teams tends to be a bit misunderstood. It’s not intended to be a “I’m working right now” message, but instead “I can communicate right now,” so if you take a call on your cell phone and walk away from your computer for fifteen minutes, then your status being “away” accurately reflects that you’re not able to take a call or chat through Teams since you’re not at your computer. To answer your question, even if you have an appointment in your Outlook calendar or set your status manually to busy, if you’re not at your computer for more than ten minutes, your presence status will change to “Away.” We know that many people prefer to use their status in the first way, though that does not line up with Teams’ intended functionality. One solution is you can download the mobile app on your smart phone. You can log in on the mobile app to keep your status as available or busy while you’re away from your computer. Hopefully this helps!

  • Rupert Fornsworth says:

    It is intriguing to see you guys suggest workarounds to the very way you intend your app to be used. If the users feel that there is a clear the lack of the functionality, you should take it into consideration instead of suggesting workarounds. I am an engineer. I take a look at printed plans, norm textbooks and other physical literature all the time, it is much more practical than doing it on the computer. I often do that for many minutes without touching my computer. It doesn’t mean I can’t scoop over to my PC screen if I get a notification and answer a call or answer someone sending me a message through the chat. Instead, with the present lack of functionality and particularly in these special circumstances where many of us are working from home, people in the organization could feel as though the person is simply not working and doing other stuff around the house if he/she is constantly seen as “Away”. It seems intriguing to me, because quite frankly, I imagine that the worst that could happen by introducing the actual functionality everybody wants would be that a colleague could send a message or a chat to someone who appears as present, but can’t quite answer at that time, and, as is with a text message or a phone call, that colleague would simply try again later. Whereas all the disadvantages listed in this thread for not being able to manually set the time for your status to change to “Away” are very real and affect real time users in such a way that this issue is discussed on many forums. Workarounds won’t bring the satisfaction that will encourage the use of the platform. The app has to be flexible to suit the extremely diverse group of users that use Teams, it seems strange to me that a company like Microsoft can’t (or won’t) wrap its head around that principle.

    • Stephanie Hamrick says:

      Hi Rupert. Thanks for your comment! We’re flattered that you think so, but we’re not Microsoft and we have no control over the functionality or development of any features in Microsoft Teams. We are only a Microsoft Partner, and so while we can install and help manage Microsoft Teams for businesses, we can’t change the functionality. If you’d like to submit your ideas directly to Microsoft, they have a user voice forum where they frequently read through suggestions and implement the most popular ones. Submit here: https://microsoftteams.uservoice.com/ On another note, you can still send anyone a chat, call. etc. when their status is set to “Away.” So having your status being “available” doesn’t change the functionality of the app in any way. In both cases you can still send and “try again later” if you don’t get a response.

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