Understanding Who Can Bypass the Teams Meeting Lobby

A Place to Wait for Admittance

The Teams meeting lobby is a virtual area where participants wait for admittance to a meeting. The lobby bypass setting for a meeting dictates who can join a meeting without waiting. The default value for lobby bypass is set by the Teams meeting policy assigned to the meeting organizer. In the policy shown in Figure 1, the default lobby setting for meetings created by users assigned this policy is “People in my organization and guests.” All meetings created by accounts assigned this policy use this lobby setting unless the meeting organizer updates the setting.

Viewing the default lobby setting in a Teams meeting policy
Figure 1: Viewing the default lobby setting in a Teams meeting policy

Resetting the Lobby

After creating a meeting, the organizer can amend the lobby bypass setting for a meeting by updating the meeting options. Only the organizer can update meeting settings and they must wait until Teams has created the meeting before making changes. You can make changes through the Teams calendar app or Outlook desktop (using the Teams meeting add-in). Figure 2 shows the lobby options available at the time of writing as displayed in the web page used by the Teams calendar app.

Choosing a different Teams meeting lobby setting for a meeting
Figure 2: Choosing a different lobby setting for a meeting

The following settings are available to control which meeting participants can join automatically without waiting in the Teams meeting lobby:

  • Everyone: All users, including anonymous users, can join the meeting without waiting.
  • People in my organization, trusted organizations, and guests: Everyone with a tenant or guest account, or those with accounts in federated (trusted) organizations, can join without waiting.
  • People in my organization and guests: Only people with Azure AD member or guest accounts in the tenant directory can join without waiting.
  • People in my organization: Only tenant users (member accounts) can join without waiting.
  • People I invite: Only those who receive an invitation to the meeting (they are in the attendee list) can join without waiting. It’s a good idea to update meeting settings to disable the ability for users to forward invitations to other people when meetings need to be restricted. (Figure 3) This stops email clients which can prevent forwarding of meeting invitations displaying the option to users.
  • Only me: Only the meeting organizer can join automatically. Everyone else must wait for admittance.

Don't allow meeting participants to forward invitations to sensitive meetings
Figure 3: Don’t allow meeting participants to forward invitations to sensitive meetings

Note that the set of options available through Outlook might be smaller as it takes longer for new options to show up in the Outlook GUI.

Maturing Teams Functionality

Microsoft has steadily expanded the set of Teams meeting lobby options available for meetings, notably adding People I Invite in early 2021 and to force external users to go through the lobby in 2020. In the early days of Teams meetings, anyone with a meeting link could join. Obviously, this approach doesn’t work too well when some meetings are more sensitive than others, which creates the need for a broad range of options to control lobby bypass. Microsoft is taking the same course to extend controls over what participants can do during a meeting, such as who can present, allow people to unmute, if meeting chat is enabled or lasts only during the call, and to permit live reactions. These are all signs of maturing Teams functionality in important areas (and responses to competition), so it’s all goodness.

Need to know more about managing Teams meetings? Read the two Teams chapters in the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook. The information presented there will help you understand how Teams meetings work and how to manage them.

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