Saturday, February 23, 2019

Updated Teams Out of Office Presence Behavior

Recently I went on a few day vacation and happen to notice some new changes to how presence works when Microsoft Teams automatically sets your status to "Out of Office" while using Automatic Replies or adding Out of Office meetings to your Exchange Online calendar.

Lets take a quick dive into the history of this feature and what has changed.

Previous Exchange Online OOF Presence Integration

Back in April of last year Teams released an update that would set your Teams status to Out of Office anytime you set Automatic Replies via Outlook/OWA or scheduled an appointment on your calendar with the "Show as" set to "Out of Office". This would hold your status as "Out of Office" throughout the duration of the event with the purple icon along with your Automatic reply if one existed shown below

Many users would complain that they couldn't change their status and that they were traveling for work and originally were confused by this when it first hit Teams. I never realized how many people used meetings in their calendars to block off their Out of Office until this feature launched. This caused some behaviors to be adjusted and left many with frustration of how this forced effect worked. The Teams team seems to have taken a good step closer to solving these exact scenarios.

Updated Exchange Online OOF Presence Integration

I'm not 100% sure when this feature came into play, but I would bet it was with the custom status update recently since this new integration disables the custom status so I think it makes use of it to make this work in this new way.

When you set your Automatic responses or OOF calendar meeting, when Teams polls this information (seems to be roughly every hour) it will now set your status in Teams to a new %CurrentStatus% - Out of Office format. What this means is you can now set your status to Available/Busy/DnD while OOF is active and you will get new status icons (white background) indicating your current status. You also get the same Automatic Reply message as well on hover cards.

Your status is set to the default purple icon and "Out of Office" status for all away statuses including being idle.

The new out of office statuses in Teams: 

What this means is you can now be out of the office and actually see if people are available for communication. This comes in handy in scenarios where people are out of home base, but traveling to customer sites and set their OOF for the trip and they still want their availability to show to colleagues. This is also useful if you want to to show your availability because you don't manage your work life balance properly and for some reason want to work when you're on vacation :).

Other Exchange Online Presence Integration 

It doesn't appear that the other presence integrations have been messed with at this point, such as your status being set to Busy when you have a meeting in your calendar etc. I

t's good to see Microsoft starting to tweak and improving some of the little things throughout the Teams product and hopefully we will see many more like it in the coming months.

Have questions? The best place to reach me or other Teams experts is the Teams Microsoft Tech Community.

Follow me on Twitter: @chriswebbtech


  1. Not sure this is ideal. I'm working on a project where I'm logged in to a client's Teams environment and hence don't see messages that come to my own company Teams account. But my Calendar shows me as available because I'm not specifically in meetings while I'm in the client's Teams environment. So now colleagues are unhappy because they think I'm ignoring messages.

  2. I just get the same questions over and over from my team. I want to set an auto reply to them. :)