Last November, we reported that Microsoft is working on a new update that will allow users to set their presence status to “Out of Office” in Teams. This feature is now rolling out in public preview on the Teams desktop app and the web, making it easier for users to keep their colleagues informed about their availability status.
“Let others know that you are not available by scheduling your Out of Office in Teams. During this time, your presence status will change to "Out of Office" and your status message will be displayed when someone reaches out to you via chat. Additionally, your Outlook calendar and automatic replies will be updated accordingly,” the company explained on the Microsoft 365 roadmap.
To try out the feature, users will need to opt into the Microsoft Teams public preview program. Microsoft detailed a couple of ways to schedule the Out of Office feature on the web or the Teams desktop app. For those already enrolled in public preview, you’ll need to click on your profile picture and see if the “Schedule out of office” option is available.
There is an option to set up a message for users to let others know they would not be available to respond for a specific period. The status would be visible when colleagues or attendees reach out to them via chat. Users can also choose to send automatic replies to people outside their organization and select dates and times to start and end the Out of office status message and presence status.
In addition, Teams users can head to Settings to access this option. To do this, click General > Out of Office > Schedule, and then enable the “Turn on automatic replies” toggle button. Finally, add text to auto-reply message and configure other options. Microsoft mentioned that this Out of Office status will also sync with the Outlook calendar, presence, and contact card information of the user.
It’s good to see that the Teams desktop and web apps will help users to step away from their desk and escape the storm of alerts during short breaks or vacations. As of this writing, the Microsoft 365 roadmap says that the feature is in development and is scheduled to hit general availability later this month, though that timeline is subject to change.