How to fix Microsoft Teams saying you’re away when you’re not

As an employee working from home you’re likely aware managers depend on your activity indicators to determine whether you are actually working or not. As a result, your indicator sending invalid indications can get you in some trouble. These indications are caused due to information Microsoft Teams takes from your system. Such as whether your system is locked, or sleeping due to idling too long. Thus, the only means to prevent your status change is to prevent your system from going idle. As of right now, it’s not possible to “fix” this issue natively, albeit there are ways to work around it. These methods work by fooling Teams’ idle detection systems into believing someone is present all the time.

What we’ve listed as the solution here is best described as a workaround. With a status message, you can inform your colleagues that you are, in fact, available. As I said, it’s not necessarily a solution. Something that acts more as a solution is Caffeine, which is the application we’re going to recommend downloading in this blog post.


  1. Click your profile icon
  2. Select Set status message
  3. Input a status message
  4. Click done

We will be providing a step-by-step guide on setting a status message within Microsoft Teams. While this does not resolve the problem, it servers as a workaround and means to notify colleagues you are in fact available. We’ll additionally be providing a third-party means to stay active for up to 24 hours at a time.


  1. Setting up a status in Microsoft Teams
  2. What about Caffeine
  3. End note

Setting up a status in Microsoft Teams to fix Teams saying you’re away when you’re not

Step 1 – Access the status configuration method

Select your profile icon, followed by the Set status message option. This will produce a window from which you may input a message your colleagues will see.

Step 2 – Input a message

Enter a status message. Try to keep in mind that this message will be visible to all members of your team. Similarly, try to keep your status message short. Upon completion, set your message to not expire via the Clear status message after dropdown. Lastly, select Done.

Step 3 – Ensure your status was set correctly

Assuming you did everything correctly, you will now see your status message displayed under your profile, after clicking your profile icon.

Using Caffeine to prevent Teams from saying you’re away when you are active

Using Caffeine

Caffeine is a third-party tool used to simulate user interaction in the form of background keystrokes. This occurs every 59 seconds and allows Caffeine to fool your system’s idle detection.

I don’t want a third party program

An alternative to the use of this software can be achieved with no more than a paper pin. Before going idle, or walking away from your device, shift the paper pin underneath your insert key. In doing so, your system will continue to receive input as your key is pressed down. This will also work with the ctrl, shift, alt, alt gr, and l-shift keys.

Why Caffeine wasn’t discussed

While programs such as caffeine can prevent idle behaviors, their usage and installation are not covered inside this post. This is due to the third-party Caffeine program having already been spoken about in greater detail- within a recent post (linked here). The post details both where to download Caffeine and how to extract the program, as well as how to start it up and configure it to remain on for a maximum of 24 hours. After which you will be required to manually turn it back on.

End note


Microsoft Teams attempts to detect when you’re idle so that it can accurately determine your activity status for you. Despite that, this feature can be bypassed via third-party applications like Caffeine or worked around by using status messages (as opposed to your activity indicator) to show people when you’re free. As a last resort, you can additionally use a thin paper clip and slide it under certain keys to provide a constant input stream to your system- preventing idle responses to trigger.


As usual, this section is dedicated to thanking readers for their support. We’d be pleased to know you found this post useful and/or informative. If you have any more Office 365 related queries, please consult our related articles (listed below). However, if you have other queries, consider looking at the rest of the site. We’re frequently posting new stuff each week and may just have the guide or troubleshooting tips you need. Regardless, we wish you a good day/night. Farewell readers. 

Our related articles:

  • How to use pop out chat in Microsoft Teams – Microsoft Teams servers as the general communications platform provided by their Office 365 Suite. One of its most useful smaller features is the ability to minimise chats and “pop” them out of the application window. This is primarily utilised for multi-taking, or chatting and working simultaneously. Have a read of this post to learn how to use it. If you have any trouble, feel free to follow along for an image aided walkthrough below. Once we’ve got a pop-out chat, we’ll demonstrate how you can view two pop-out chats at once.
  • How to prevent employees downloading the Microsoft Teams app on mobile devices – Communication and accessibility with cloud services comes with a magnitude of benefits, despite this, they also bring a number of risks. One such risk is mobile devices which can easily be lost, compromised or stolen as opposed to company property which is on-site at all times. In this post, we’ll show you how you can meek employees from downloading Microsoft Teams’ mobile app.
  • Microsoft Teams: How to always appear online – While it is not currently possible to always appear online in Microsoft Teams, it’s quite possible to appear online for a very long time. This is achieved by preventing your system from sleeping or locking up due to idle behaviour. Fortunately, this can be done without manually interacting with your computer constantly. This post will instruct you on getting started with Caffeine, and as well as actually using it to prevent your devices idle behaviours from triggering.
  • How to let users bypass the lobby: Microsoft Teams – Being a communication platform, Microsoft Teams offers a series of useful communication features, such as event planning, chats, groups and what we will be discussing today, meetings. Often times when joining a meeting you may have found yourself stuck within the “lobby” space- forced to wait (potentially unoticed) for another meeting attendant to grant you access to the meeting. We will be helping you permit meeting attendants to bypass this lobby phase of the meeting. As such we request you refer to our guide below, where you will find step-by-step instructions on what to do, as well as a number of images to provide additional support.

Jack Mitchell

Jack Mitchell has been the Operations manager at telecoms and MSP Optionbox for more than 4 years. He has played a crucial role in the company, from marketing to helpdesk, and ensures that the IT requirements of over 300 clients are continuously met. With his innate passion for technology and troubleshooting and a particular interest in Apple products, Jack now delivers the most comprehensive tech guides to make your life easier. You can connect with Jack on LinkedIn.

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