Microsoft Teams Focus Mode: What Is It & Why Should I Use It?
If you spend a lot of time presenting in meetings, don’t you get sick of other people sending you messages in the middle of a screen share?
That’s why Microsoft has introduced Focus mode in Teams.
In this blog post, you’ll learn what Focus mode is, when and why to use it, and even how you can stop people on other platforms from interrupting you.
What is Focus mode in Microsoft Teams?
Focus Mode is a simple Microsoft Teams feature designed to do what you may consider impossible: keep your attention locked in a meeting.
If we’re making realistic predictions, it will remove some of the distractions you commonly get in a meeting.
It is a simple layout scheme that immerses you in whatever content is being shared. Teams Focus Mode probably tops the list of the best Microsoft Teams features in that’s been introduced in 2023.
What’s the use case?
The use cases for Microsoft Teams Focus Mode include:
- When you’re in a meeting, presenting, and you need to avoid distractions.
- When you’re in a meeting, presenting, and you need other contacts to be aware so they don’t instigate that distraction in the first place.
See also: How To Turn On Busy On Busy On Microsoft Teams
To fully appreciate the Microsoft Teams Focus Mode feature and its use cases, we have to understand what it’s trying to fix.
1 – Avoid distractions with Teams Focus Mode
You can add Focus Mode to the many intelligent methods used when tackling notification overload.
Focus mode will totally immerse you in a Teams meeting presentation.
You’ll avoid distractions like participants in the video feed or even in-meeting messages.
Moreover, when you turn on Focus Mode in fullscreen (more on that in a bit), you also get to cut out any notification badges in the taskbar.
This helps avoid the effects of excess context switching in your work.
2 – Automatically notify contacts to avoid distractions
Being in a meeting with Focus mode turned on automatically updates your Teams status from Available to In a call.
This is useful if you’re in a team whose members have been briefed on Microsoft Teams etiquette.
Your team members immediately know to send scheduled messages for when you’re likely to be available again. And if it’s truly urgent, a priority message lets you know.
Thus, Focus Mode also works as DND.
How to turn on Microsoft Teams Focus mode
Follow these steps if you want to focus on the presentation going on in your Microsoft Teams meeting:
- Click the View icon at the top of the script and hit Focus on content in the dropdown.
- All participant icons or video feeds previously taking up screen space will be removed, giving you prime screen real estate to get immersed in the presentation.
- Clear other distractions at the bottom of your screen by hitting Views again and this time, selecting the Full screen option.
This’ll help avoid distractions from notification badges in your taskbar.
How to turn off Microsoft Teams Focus mode
So let’s say you want to come back out and maintain eye contact with the presenter or other participants while the presentation is going on; this is how to turn off Microsoft Teams Focus mode:
- Hit the Views icon and click on Full screen.
- Next, click the View icon at the top of the script again then hit Focus on content in the dropdown.
- All participant icons or video feeds previously removed will be restored.
What happens when people on other platforms can’t see I’m in Focus mode?
When you use Teams but your colleagues prefer other platforms like Slack or Webex, they won’t be able to see you’re busy, let alone sharing your screen.
So, what happens?
They send you messages or even try to call you.
You see, when Dave uses Slack and you use Teams, he doesn’t know your presence without logging into Teams.
So when Dave needs to know the latest pricing for your new product, he phones you without thinking.
Sure, Dave might check your presence status on Slack. But if you don’t use Slack, that’s not much use.
You’re using Presence Sync.
Presence Sync automatically shares your presence status cross-platform.
If you’re presenting in Teams (Focus mode or otherwise), your presence turns red and is reflected on any other platforms you’re connected to.
Presence Sync is a way to integrate your online, offline, busy, and other statuses across Microsoft Teams, Slack, Webex, and Zoom.
So the next time you’re presenting and don’t want to be interrupted, make sure you have Presence Sync installed.
Sign up for the waitlist here.