Microsoft has made a small tweak to its Teams collaboration platform (opens in new tab) that could prove a life-saver for users that work best in peace and quiet.
The company has extended its selection of status choices - which was previously limited to either Available, Busy or Away - to include a new Appear offline toggle.
Now, users that don’t want co-workers to know they are contactable via Microsoft Teams (opens in new tab) can use the platform freely without alerting anyone to their presence.
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Microsoft Teams update
The new status option, which has now rolled out to all users, builds upon the existing status duration feature, which allows users to set their availability for a custom period (e.g. ten minutes, two hours, all day).
Once this period has elapsed, Microsoft Teams (opens in new tab) automatically resets the user’s public status back to Available, so that colleagues know they can be contacted again - and the same will apply to the Appear offline option.
While co-workers can still deliver messages to offline users, the idea is presumably to minimize the quantity of messages received. Busy and Away statuses serve a similar function, but the option to simulate total absence is likely to prove a more effective shield.
The new feature could be a boon for anyone hoping to escape the storm of alerts that has come to characterize collaboration platforms during the pandemic, or carve out a moment of respite to dedicate to a task that demands close concentration.
The downside is that the ability to appear offline may further aggravate concerns surrounding employee productivity at home. While businesses have been forced to embrace remote working as a result of the pandemic, research (opens in new tab) has suggested that leadership is still uncomfortable with the notion of the “out-of-sight employee”.
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Via Windows Latest (opens in new tab)