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MS Teams Shifts | Everything You Should Know [2020]

Today I’m going to show you why MS teams shifts is a useful tool for your schedule management.

MS teams shifts is a schedule management tool that helps you create, update, and manage schedules for your team. In the light of social distancing measures, we all have to get used to working differently. Knowing your week’s rota and change times could be more complicated and having your boss realize you are not available at certain hours.

How will this make your life easier?

You will be able to see the movements of your shifts on the computer or mobiles in real time browser, as long as they are updated by your boss.

  • When you are unavailable you can set
  • You can select which unassigned shifts you wish to make
  • Swap with a staff member by moving to the changes without disturbing your boss
  • You should be entitled to demand leave

Enable or disable MS teams shifts in your organization

Shifts is enabled by default for all Teams users in your organization. You can turn off or turn on the app at the org level on the Manage apps page in the Microsoft Teams admin center.

  • In the left navigation of the Microsoft Teams admin center, go to Teams apps > Manage apps.
  • In the list of apps, do one of the following:
    • To turn off Shifts for your organization, search for the Shifts app, select it, and then click Block.
    • To turn on Shifts for your organization, search for the Shifts app, select it, and then click Allow.

Enable or disable MS teams shifts for specific users

To allow or block specific users in your organization from using Shifts, make sure Shifts is turned on for your organization on the Manage apps page, and then create a custom app permission policy and assign it to those users. To learn more, see Manage app permission policies in Teams.

Getting started with MS teams shifts

You will need to open the Shifts app to get going. It is built into the Teams on the left. If you are not seeing it there, you are going to have to click More options and find it on the list. While online, you can see a number of the Shifts that you are scheduled for the next week. When there is none, you will need a boss or admin to give you a move or ask them to attach one in the web.

ms teams shifts

If you are interested in creating shifts to a specific channel, then open the shifts and add a new schedule and select create.

microsoft teams time clock

Next, select the time zone that you wish. Once you are ready, click confirm

shifts for teams

Now, select “Add People” on the left to add members to the newly created shifts.

teams shifts app

The above screenshot has “Unnamed group” on the left which does not look good. The name can be changed using the More options next to the group name.

microsoft teams shifts app

Next, type the desired name and click ok. I prefer to have techieberry team. As soon as I started typing, it automatically reflects on the screen.

MS teams shifts view

There are several different options for viewing schedules and shifts:

  • You can choose to view the schedule as a daily, weekly or monthly view. You can also use the options shown above to group the schedule view by shift rather than people and configure what information is displayed such as groups and open shifts etc.
  • The different levels of view make it easy for managers to keep track of their staff cover for a particular day, week or month. Information that isn’t required can be hidden, so their screen isn’t cluttered with unneeded information.
  • Shifts is also available on the Microsoft Teams mobile client. The mobile version is a trimmed-down version of the full desktop client and is designed for frontline workers to view shifts, create requests for time off and swap shifts with colleagues.
  • The Microsoft teams shifts app can be accessed on the mobile client by pressing the waffle menu in the top left-hand corner of the Teams mobile app and then selecting More Apps.

MS teams shifts schedule share

When you add shifts, changes would be labelled with an asterisk which indicates that only you will see them as an owner. To post updates, you will communicate with the team and let others see the plan.

You choose which dates to “publish” after clicking Share with Team, and whether to notify the entire team or just those affected by the changes/additions.

You have to share every time you make changes so that members are aware of your updates.

MS teams shifts time clock

The next logical piece, after scheduling, is the actual shift performance itself. Shifts even includes a Time Clock feature which allows mobile clock-in and clock-out with optional location detection for reporting. To access the time clock, follow the below steps.

Open the associated “shifts schedule
Click “Settings” on the top and scroll down to the bottom
Select “Begin setup” and click Next

If you choose to turn on location tracking, you must enter the coordinates from which you expect employees to be clocking in and out.

MS teams shifts schedule

The function of MS teams shifts is often connected to a team. The team owners are the Shifts managers, and they can create schedules to share with the team members. Notice that at least for the moment visitors can not use shifts.

Clicking on the Shifts icon can make three things happen:

  • When you are an owner with at least one team, but none of them have shifts changes, you would be provided with an opportunity to build a plan for all of your own teams.
  • When you are not an owner, none of the teams you are a part of already have a shifts schedule, you will see a message, “It looks like there is no team schedule yet for you.”
  • If there is a shifts schedule with at least one of the teams you are a part of or owner of, you would be guided to that plan. If several schedules are open, the latest one you have seen will be shown.
  • When you have never been to shifts before, you are going to see a chart that you can pick which team schedule you would like to use as your very first ever day.
  • You can open a list of all your schedules when you have access to at least one schedule, and switch between them via the “hamburger” menu at the top left corner of Shifts.
  • You will also use the Latest Scheduling connection to attach shifts schedules for your other teams in the same perspective.

MS teams shifts create

When creating shifts you have the following options:

  • Start, end date and time of the shift
  • Is the shift open or someone’s assigned?
  • If you have an available shift you may pick the number of spaces. For the same time, that implies several copies of the same shift are made, and those can be allocated to various people who operate concurrently, creating the same kind of change.
  • A custom label/title to use in the schedule view (if left empty, the date of change is displayed)
  • The duration of an available unpaid intermission.
  • A notice area for any detail that you might want to include in the move.
  • A summary of the sub-activities during the changeover
  • Color move! For each particular form of the move, select a color and you get a pleasant color-coded schedule for easier monitoring.
Microsoft teams shifts

MS teams shifts assigning

  • You may create a shift to be an open shift (to be delegated later), or build it specifically for an individual (this is the only choice in the mobile app currently).
  • You need to connect them to the same community where you have or are intending to build the change before you can appoint a consumer to a change.
  • The adding of members to schedule groups is limited to team members. If you choose to apply a change to a person who is not visible in the people picker, first make sure they are a team leader.
  • After accepting the consumer as a participant, it could also be appropriate to wait for the client details to be coordinated with changes.

MS teams shifts request time off

  • Team representatives may ask for time-off and team leaders may either accept or reject such demands.
  • The approved time-off in the schedule is automatically blocked for the user.
  • A team member may recommend replacing one of their shifts within the same timetable with one of the other employee’s shifts. The co-worker instead either rejects the appeal or supports it.
  • The other move does not have to be in the same party, so the interested individuals do not have to be participants of all classes.
  • If the other employee approves the swap, a manager is prompted to approve the swap as the final step. If the users were not already participants of the other scheduling classes, they are now included automatically.
  • This is not a security concern as members of the team can still see all the scheduling groups and shifts even if they are not members of the groups.
  • Team leaders may often easily give any team leader one of their shifts without having a move in exchange. The clearance method operates in the same fashion as for change swaps.

All these features can be accessed within Shifts tab.

Microsoft teams shifts

MS teams shifts group scheduling

  • While a team may have just one schedule, a project may include a nearly infinite amount of groups.
  • A simple schedule can have just one group, but if multiple categories or sections are needed, groups can support that need.
  • When creating shifts, you still need to build them in the schedule for one team. You cannot move intergroup shifts.
  • If you have an error or decide to build identical changes with multiple classes in the calendar, you may replicate the simple change, so if you have put action to the move, it won’t contain any.
  • If you copy entire schedules, however, then copy the activities as well.

MS teams shifts copying

Instead of assigning shifts to the staff manually, you should easily pass an established plan to another member of your team that will operate in the same position. Click on the More options button on the individual move to copy and then insert it into another spot.

The above shows just how a single shift schedule can be copied from one member to another. Yes, you can also copy and paste several changes over many days.

The same schedule can be copied all through the rest of the week to save time on manual effort. Just drag the days and copied them and drag it again and paste it.

MS teams shifts recurring

  • The developers have not (forgotten?) implemented an opportunity for recurrence teams shifts in any way.
  • Its omission has angered many people and this widely awaited feature has yet to come up with Microsoft.
  • Fortunately, there is a solution that would allow you to set up regular changes, but with a little extra effort. Making a fresh change first.
  • When you like the same Shift every day, copy and paste the contents of the Shift to the instance day. Likewise, if you decide to replicate the change regularly, just transfer it forward to the following day if you want it to happen again.
  • Microsoft has confirmed that it would strive to implement the recurring shifts but we do not have the release date.

MS teams shifts export schedule

You can export the shifts schedule as csv file which includes daily hours, time off and shift notes. Cool stuff. To do this,

  • Go to “Shifts” on Microsoft teams
  • On the top, click More options (…)
  • Select “Export Schedule
  • After a few seconds, a csv file will be exported to your downloads file.
  • If you are interested in moving the schedule to a different channel, then you can use the import schedule on the same options.

MS teams shifts import schedule

  • On your scheduler
  • On the top, click More options (…)
  • Select “Import schedule
  • Download the sample excel template.
  • When you’re done, save the file as CSV (Comma Delimited)
  • Upload the CSV file
  • Edit unknown columns if needed
  • Review the imported shifts, make edits and add more shifts if needed
  • Review the summary and click on “confirm
  • All shifts are now populated in your schedule and unpublished
  • Publish your schedule when ready
  • Edit your excel file. Each row is a shift

MS teams shifts audit log

Before you can search the audit log, you have to first turn on auditing in the Security & Compliance Center. To learn more, see Turn audit log search on or off. Keep in mind that audit data is only available from the point at which you turned on auditing.
You can search the audit log to view Shifts activity in your organization. To learn more about how to search the audit log and to see a list of Shifts activities that are logged in the audit log.

MS teams shifts notifications

  • Microsoft teams shifts does not currently have feature parity with Staffhub (things like Time Clock which loads of people want to see)
  • There is also the wider issue of notifications with shifts as shown by this long running TC thread where MS is currently working on remediation.
  • I would vote on the uservoice and this will notify you of it gets picked up.

MS teams shifts API

I have just seen this on the Microsoft 365 Roadmap. Currently rolling out (so, not yet here but hopefully soon) will be new API endpoints to support Microsoft teams shifts for Firstline Workers. These new API calls will include:

  • Create, read, and update Schedules
  • Create, read, and update Schedule Groups
  • Create, read, update, and delete Shifts and shift activities
  • Create, read, update and delete time offs, time off reasons, and time off requests
  • Track the last change date of any of the above items

When they do arrive, my guess would be that they will show up in the Graph API Beta reference documentation (they’re not there as I write this). This tends to be where new stuff into the Graph API goes first, before moving into the 1.0 namespace.

The only thing to be aware of with the /beta namespace is that it contains features that are currently in preview, and you should expect breaking changes. It’s not recommended that you use /beta APIs in production.

If your organisation is using Shifts to provide rich scheduling capabilities to your front-line workers, then this API will give you the ability to either embed data from Shifts in other applications or enable some level of automation in Shift management.

MS teams shifts for firstline workers

Shifts is your schedule management tool now available in Teams, where managers can easily plan and create shift schedules and team members can review schedules and make shift requests from their mobile devices, all in real time. The Shifts experience is on by default and accessible via the Teams app.

MS teams shifts data

MS teams shifts data is currently stored in Azure in data centers in North America, Western Europe, and the Asia Pacific. For more information about where data is stored, see Where is my data?

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How to delete schedules on shifts?

    There is currently no way to delete a schedule once it has been created, so your decision will be final for the time being. According to UserVoice, the feature is planned to be implemented sometime in the future.

  2. How to reassign shift to another person?

    If you want to reassign a shift from one person to another, you first need to move the shift to open shifts and then reassign it. Not only is this clumsy behavior but it also causes major problems when it comes to automating operations related to shifts.

  3. Does shifts work with people outside the organization?

    Shifts does not currently support guest users – even if you’re using guest users in Microsoft Teams.

  4. What is the maximum group Size in Microsoft teams shifts?

    The limit for a group in Shifts is the same as the limit for a Team.

Want to improve your Microsoft Teams experience for better productivity? Check out the tips and tricks mentioned here.

Now I’d like to hear from you:

Which finding from today’s report did you find most interesting? Or maybe you have a question about something that I covered.

Either way, I’d like to hear from you. So go ahead and leave a comment below.

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