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Previously, users could only set out of office messages for tier accounts via an Outlook client and Outlook on the Web (OWA). This news feature allows you to create these out of office messages in Teams clients.
If you can't find the settings to set out of office messages in your Teams client, you must enable Public Preview mode (for instructions, click here). This is because the feature is still being rolled as of May 2, 2021.
Out of office message in the Teams desktop client
This feature gels pretty well with the desktop version of Teams. In this section, we will look at its behavior in this version of the client.
First, click your profile in the top right and select Set status message.
In the next window, click Schedule out of office.
In the next window, there are some settings that you need decide on. First, set whether to enable out of office replies.
Next, type your out of office response. The other settings are much the same as they are in Outlook.
If you want to send the out of office responses to external email senders, select the checkbox next to Send replies outside my organization and type the automatic response. So, you can have different out of office responses for internal and external senders.
The option to schedule the out of office message is also available.
This out of office message will now sync with your Outlook desktop client, OWA, and the web version of Teams. In my tests, syncing barely took a minute. The changes also synced to the mobile version of Teams.
The message was also visible in mail tips in both OWA and Outlook.
There is another way to enable out of office messages in the Teams client. Click your profile in the top right and select Settings.
In the next window, you will see the out of office option, and you can schedule it. The next window displays the same settings as described in the previous section.
Out of office messages in the Teams web version
The process to schedule out of office messages in the web version of Teams is the same as that of the desktop client. Please refer to the previous section.
The results of the tests on this version of Teams were the same. The out of office message, once setup from here, syncs almost instantly to the Teams desktop client, Teams mobile app, Outlook desktop client, and OWA.
One of the first things that is different here from the out of office options in the Outlook client was that the previously used out of office message isn't displayed in Teams. This means that users must type the entire message each time they want to set it up.
The Outlook desktop clients, on the other hand, display the out of office message that you set up the last time. This means you can just edit the message and set up your out of office response. This missing piece could have been a disappointment for some.
This issue was reported by quite a few users and Microsoft did release an update to mitigate it. In the tests here it seems Microsoft's fix has taken effect and the previous out of office message was clearly visible.
Another issue reported by users was that sometimes the Save button is not visible when setting the out of office message from Teams. This issue did not occur in my tests, although I did find that on some occasions, the Schedule out of office button (shown in the screenshot below) wouldn't respond immediately. However, it would eventually work, and hence, wasn't a major issue.
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The out of office feature in Microsoft Teams is certainly an important enhancement. The minor issues encountered are already being fixed by Microsoft.