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How to block the Microsoft Teams Away status

If a user is signed into Microsoft Teams and the app is minimized while they work in a different app, the user’s status will change from Available to Away. This happens automatically and, in theory, this is a good idea because users don’t have to manually change their status.

In practice, this feature is pretty awful. Users are shown to be away or unavailable when they are working. Users can’t be expected to switch to the app between work to make sure their ‘Available’ status hasn’t changed. It is counterproductive and almost impossible to remember.

Fix the Microsoft Teams Away status

If you’re idle on your system for five minutes, or more, Microsoft Teams will change the status. There isn’t any way to change this behavior. It is a feature so you can’t remove it but you can set a custom Available status and it will override it.

Block Microsoft Teams Away status

To override or block the Microsoft Teams away status from being set, follow these steps.

  1. Open Microsoft Teams.
  2. Click your profile at the top right.
  3. Next to the Available status, click Set Status Message.
  4. Enter any message you’d like or enter a period/full stop if you don’t want to write anything.
  5. Open the Clear status message after dropdown and set it to Never.
  6. Click Done.
  7. Your Microsoft Teams status will not change to Away while you work in other apps.

Note: if you lock your system, or it goes to sleep, your status will change to Away.

Microsoft Teams Away status

Prevent System sleep

The above fix won’t work if your system goes to sleep which, if you’re using your system, shouldn’t happen. If you’d like to step away from your system but prevent it from going to sleep, follow these steps.

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Paste this in the location bar and tap Enter Control Panel\Hardware and Sound\Power Options.
  3. Click Change plan settings next to the active plan.
  4. Open the ‘Put the computer to sleep’ dropdowns and select Never.
  5. Click Save changes.

Prevent system idle

If you’d like to prevent the system from going into idle mode, you can try the following;

  • Run a media app e.g., VLC player and play something. You can mute the volume if it bothers you. You can also play something on Netflix.
  • You can use a ‘mouse jiggler’ app that will jiggle the mouse to prevent the system from thinking you’re idle. It’s not the best solution given it interferes with the mouse’s input but it works.
  • You can also run a large torrent and use the torrent client to prevent the system from going into idle mode.

Conclusion

The ‘Away’ status can be set manually, and it can be set automatically but there is no way for users to decide the ‘time out’ period for it. It’s set for 5 mins and there’s nothing to change it which is why a custom message is needed to override it. 

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