Microsoft Teams enables users to appear offline

The Microsoft Teams app logo displayed on a smartphone

Microsoft Teams now includes a new feature that allows people to use the collaboration platform yet stay hidden from their co-workers.

Teams has made the “Appear offline” toggle available to all users in status choices, which also includes “Available,” “Busy,” and “Away.” Selecting “Appear offline.” This option will allow workers to use the Microsoft Teams platform without others knowing they’re online, allowing them to take a break from communications to focus on their work.

The new status also uses Teams’ status duration feature, which allows users to set their availability for a defined period. When the time period ends, the platform automatically resets the users' status to “Available.”

Co-workers can still send messages to the offline user, the “Appear offline” status should help to minimize the number of messages users receive. While the “Busy” and “Away” options are similar in function, “Appear offline” indicates the user is not on the platform at all, shielding them from co-worker intrusions. Microsoft Teams’ new feature should also help to reduce the number of alerts.

Many people work remotely today and are using these services for daily communication with the office and co-workers. The “Appear offline” feature can help users dedicate a block of time to tasks that require uninterrupted attention.

There are downsides to appearing offline, though. Some employers might believe employees are being less productive because they’re offline. Some companies are still not comfortable with remote working in general and struggle with employees who are not in eyesight.

David Gargaro has been providing content writing and copy editing services for more than 20 years. He has worked with companies across numerous industries, including (but not limited to) advertising, publishing, marketing, real estate, finance, insurance, law, automotive, construction, human resources, restoration services, and manufacturing. He has also managed a team of freelancers as the managing editor of a small publishing company.