How to keep Microsoft Teams active

Microsoft Teams has a bad habit of changing your status from Available to Away after a while. If your computer goes to sleep or you just put Teams in the background while you work on something else, your status will change automatically. How to keep Microsoft Teams active so it’s clear how hard you really work.

The bad news is that there are no settings in the Microsoft Teams app to keep your status available when your computer goes to sleep. The good news is that there are ways to prevent this, whether you’re using Windows or Mac. But first, you should learn about user presence.

Nathan Drescher

user presence

The first step to keeping Microsoft Teams active is to understand the aptly named user presence options. These are preset statuses that indicate what you intend to do for other team members. It also lets Microsoft’s AI engine, Cortana, know what you’re doing so it can help you with your other tasks.

Cortana can also automatically assign user presence status based on what you’re doing. For example, if you have a meeting scheduled on your Outlook calendar, Cortana will automatically set your status to In a meeting. Little tricks like this are actually very helpful for some people.

Here are all user presence states:

  • Available
  • Outside of the house
  • animated
  • in a meeting
  • On a call
  • focus
  • one way
  • Offline
  • Do not disturb
  • Be right back
  • Offline

Not all of these statuses are available to everyone. Your organization may restrict some statuses. However, most of them are standard. The Cortana AI tries to notice what you’re doing and adjusts your user presence accordingly.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t work when you absolutely must be available.

Set your user presence to Available

The first thing you need to do is set your user presence to Available. Here’s how.

Step 1: Click yours profile pic at the top right of the Teams screen.

MS Teams with a red arrow pointing to the profile picture

Nathan Drescher

Step 2: Click on your current status.

MS Teams with a red arrow showing where to click on the current status.

Nathan Drescher

Step 3: Choose Available from the drop-down list.

MS Teams with a red arrow pointing to Available status

Nathan Drescher

How to reduce the sleep timer on Windows 10.

Change the power settings so that they appear always available

Microsoft doesn’t let you tweak your team status settings directly, so you’ll need to use some workarounds. One of the easiest ways is to change your computer’s power settings so that it never goes to sleep. The only downside to this method is that you’ll forget to reset the setting after you’ve used Teams for the day.

Step 1: On Windows, open the settings menu by pressing Windows + I or search for “Settings” in the Windows search bar. Then select system.

If you are using a Mac, open system settings > battery.

Step 2: Select on Windows electricity and battery > screen and sleep. You can set when your system goes to sleep when it’s plugged in and when it’s on battery power. Either turn off the sleep setting to ensure Teams doesn’t automatically put you away, or at least limit them to only engaging after an extended period of time.

Select on Mac power adapter and adjust the slider below Then turn off the display. If you’re using a MacBook, select battery and do the same.

The Caffeine app webpage with a bright yellow background

Image: The Twenty One Team

Install Caffeine on Windows to keep your team’s status active

Windows users can install an awesome little app called Caffeine to keep their computer awake and their team status active. Caffeine works by simulating a keypress every 60 seconds, so your system thinks it has to stay awake because you’re still stuck at the keyboard.

The best thing about caffeine is how unobtrusive it is. It sits at the bottom right of your screen and minds its own business, and you can toggle it on or off as needed.

Step 1: Visit the official website and download the Caffeine app.

Step 2: Extract the download from your Downloads folder.

Step 3: Double-click the extracted program to launch Caffeine and complete the installation process using the on-screen wizard.

Step 4: Once installed and running, Caffeine will appear in the bottom right of your toolbar. Hover your mouse over the icon and a popup will appear where you can choose how long you want it to stay active.

The Amphetamine Mac app shows the menu bar items and the settings window.

Install Amphetamine for Mac to keep teams active

If you’re on a Mac, you can install a handy toolbar app called Amphetamine. This little app prevents your system from sleeping for a certain amount of time, keeping your Microsoft Teams status active.

Step 1: Open the Mac App Store.

Step 2: Search for “amphetamine”.

Step 3: click Receive in the amphetamine app.

Step 4: Open Launchpad and click on the Amphetamine app once installed. It will automatically appear in the top toolbar.

Step 5: Click the icon on the app’s toolbar to reveal a drop-down menu. Choose how long you want your Mac to stay awake.

Microsoft may not provide direct ways to keep Teams active, but there are some workarounds you can use. Whether you’re tweaking your computer’s settings so it doesn’t go to sleep or installing a third-party app like Caffeine or Amphetamine, there are easy ways to keep your status active in Teams.

If you’re running into issues with Teams, we also have a guide to the most common Teams issues that may have the solution you need.

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