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How to keep your Microsoft Teams status active

Microsoft Teams has a bad habit of changing your status from Available to Away after a bit of time passes. And if your computer goes to sleep, or even if you simply push Teams to the background while you work on (or watch) something else, it will automatically change your status. Here's how to keep Microsoft Teams active so it's clear just how hard you're really working.




5 minutes

What You Need

The bad news is there are no settings in the Microsoft Teams app to keep your status as Available when your computer goes to sleep. The good news is there are ways to prevent that from happening, no matter if you use Windows or Mac. But first, you should learn about User Presence.

The Teams user presence menu
Nathan Drescher

User Presence

The first step to keep Microsoft Teams active is to understand the aptly named User Presence choices. These are pre-set statuses that identify what you're up to for other team members. It also informs Microsoft's AI engine, Cortana, what you're doing so she can help you with your other tasks.

Cortana can also automatically assign User Presence status depending on what you're doing. For example, if you have a meeting scheduled in your Outlook calendar, Cortana will automatically set your status to In a Meeting. Little tricks like this are actually extremely helpful for some people.

Here are all the User Presence statuses:

  • Available
  • Out of office
  • Busy
  • In a meeting
  • On a call
  • Focusing
  • Away
  • Offline
  • Do not disturb
  • Be right back
  • Offline

Not all of these statuses will be available to everybody. Your organization can choose to limit some statuses. However, most of them are standard. The Cortana AI will attempt to notice what you're doing and set your User Presence accordingly.

Unfortunately, this doesn't work when you need to be available no matter what.

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 on your Profile picture on the top right of the Teams screen.

MS Teams with a red arrow pointing to profile pic
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.

MS Teams with a red arrow pointing to the Available status
Nathan Drescher
How to reduce sleep timer on Windows 10.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Change power settings to always appear available

Microsoft won't let you directly tweak your Teams status settings, so you'll need to use some workarounds. One of the easiest ways is change your computer's power settings so it never goes to sleep. The only drawback to this method is if you forget to change the setting back once you're finished using Teams for the day.

Step 1: On Windows, open the Settings menu by pressing the Windows + I keys or searching for "settings" in the Windows search bar. Then select System.

If you're on a Mac, open System preferences > Battery.

Step 2: On Windows, select Power and battery > Screen and sleep. You can adjust when your system goes to sleep when plugged in and when on battery. Either turn off the sleep setting to make sure that Teams doesn't automatically set you to Away or at least limit it to only engaging after an extended period of time.

On Mac, select Power adapter and adjust the slider under Turn display off after. If you're on a MacBook, then select Battery and do the same thing.

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 a fantastic little app called Caffeine to keep their computer awake and their Teams status active. Caffeine works by simulating a key press every 60 seconds so your system thinks it needs to stay awake because you're still plugging away at the keyboard.

The best thing about Caffeine is how unobtrusive it is. It sits in the bottom-right of your screen, minding its own business, and you can turn it on or off depending on your needs.

Step 1: Go to 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 run through the installation process with the on-screen wizard.

Step 4: Once it's installed and running, Caffeine will appear on the bottom-right of your toolbar. Hover your mouse over the icon, and a pop-up will appear where you can choose how long to keep it active.

The Amphetamine Mac app showing its menu bar items and preferences window.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Install Amphetamine for Mac to keep Teams active

If you're working with a Mac, you can install a handy toolbar app called Amphetamine. This small app will keep your system from falling asleep for a set period of time, thus keeping your Microsoft Teams status active.

Step 1: Open the Mac app store.

Step 2: Search for "amphetamine."

Step 3: Click Get on the Amphetamine app.

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

Step 5: Click on the app's toolbar icon to reveal a drop-down. Select the length of time you want to keep your Mac awake.

Microsoft may not offer any direct ways to keep Teams active, but there are a couple of workarounds you can use. Whether tweaking your computer's settings so it doesn't go to sleep or installing a third-party app such as Caffeine or Amphetamine, there are easy ways to keep your status active on Teams.

If you run into any issues with Teams, we also have a guide on the most common Teams problems, which might have the fix you need.

Editor's Note: Article was checked on April 6, 2023, and confirmed that all steps are accurate and still working.

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Nathan Drescher
Nathan Drescher is a freelance journalist and writer from Ottawa, Canada. He's been writing about technology from around the…
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