Users can set a status message which Teams displays when people chat with them or @mention them in channel conversations. The status is different to a user’s presence like “do not disturb”, which can be set by the user or by the application based on calendar data. It’s also different to your email out of office notification, which Teams displays in a user’s people card if they have not set a status message.
Set a Daily Status
I see various ways the status message is used, the best of which is to update people about your daily availability at a general level (using the calendar scheduling assistant delivers a more granular view). The idea is simple. Each morning you set your status to tell people what you’re doing and when you’re likely to be available (Figure 1). If the status message makes it clear when you are available, you’re less likely to be bothered with a breakthrough chat when you want to stay focused. Make sure that you set the checkbox to have Teams show your status when people message you. That is, after all, the point.
When you set the duration of a status message to Today, Teams will clear it automatically at midnight.
Displaying the Status Message
Teams displays the status message when someone starts a chat (Figure 2). You can see that clear direction is given to the other user about what to do if they need me quickly.
As a reminder that a status message is active, Teams displays it in a banner (Figure 3). This is useful because availability often changes during the day and the banner might prompt you to change what other people see.
Federated users do not see your status message when they chat with you, but guest users do (guests can set status messages in host tenants too). For this reason, you should not put anything confidential in a status message, just like you would avoid doing in an email out of notification message which goes to external correspondents.
Don’t Start Chats with Hi or Hello
The other good use of status messages is to encourage people to come right to the point and tell you what they need from you when starting a chat, or “Please don’t say Hello in Chat.” The idea is that you never start off a Teams chat with Hi or Hello and instead write some meaningful text to set the context for the conversation. This means that if you do interrupt someone (and chat is a horrible interruption mechanism) at least you won’t have to wait to find out what someone wants.
The first message in Figure 2 is an example. It’s useless. The second message is much better because it asks the recipient to do something and tells them why the request might be important. Not starting chats with a casual greeting is a good rule of thumb for all, which is why many people include the advice and even a link to the page (see above) in their status messages.
The Office 365 for IT Pros eBook is not for end users, but it does include some tips that end users find valuable. Mostly, we cover information that’s interesting and valuable to tenant administrators and those responsible for delivering the service within large organizations.