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How to customize annoying Teams Notifications

I have coached more than 50,000+ professionals on using Teams effectively. One common complaint – too many Teams notifications.

Let me show you how to minimize notifications without missing important updates. In 10 minutes, you can learn and customize notifications.

Notifications are interruptions. You should control them – not the other way around. Teams notifications can be confusing, annoying, and disturbing. This article shows you how to customize them exactly the way you want.

Summary

Switch unwanted items Off

Most to Show only in feed

@mentions to Banner

Never Banner and email.

Meeting chat Mute.

Mobile mute if desktop active.

Channel notification ON for pinned channels.

Teams Notifications poster

Notifications means interruptions

Notifications are interruptions. Concentration is disturbed, you are distracted and your focus on the work at hand is lost.

Therefore, we should strive to minimize notifications.

Two types of notifications

Intrusive

Intrusive – a popup and / or sound. You must look and act immediately.
Keep these to a bare minimum.
The popup appears at the bottom right corner of the screen. Stays for 5 seconds.

Non-intrusive

Non-intrusive – where notifications go and accumulate somewhere.
You go there and read them at your convenience.

How to customize Teams Notifications

Think.

What is happening across Teams which is relevant to me?

What can be so important that I am allowing it to disturb me?

Customize Teams notifications

Teams notifications need to be configured separately for Desktop (or browser) and Mobile app.

Teams Notifications Types

There are four types available.

Types of Teams Notifications

Primer – What is a Feed?

Feed means Activity feed. It is the first button in the Teams menu. The word Activity feed is not shown anywhere. In the menu it is called Activity and in the notifications dialog it is called Feed. Confusing. I know. But now you know!

Activity Feed for Teams Notifications
Activity Feed on Desktop and Mobile

Customize Desktop Teams Notifications

Click your profile picture on top right corner – Settings – Notifications.
It is a long and confusing list. Don’t worry. Follow along …

The default settings are not useful. You must choose what you really need one by one. Keep most of them Off.

Enable Banner only for important things. The most common is for @mentions. If someone mentions your name, they want some inputs from you. Therefore, it makes sense to get a notification for personal mention.

Keep chat notification Off. Not worth following every reply and response.

Less important but needed for keeping up with what is happening are best kept in the activity feed. Choose Show only in feed.

Read each type of notification and choose the option based upon your needs.

Suggested, least intrusive Teams Notification settings.

Mobile Teams Notifications

Teams Notifications are active only when you are not using Teams on the desktop. This is a good thing. That way you do not get the same notification on both devices – which is extremely annoying. Go to burger menu (three parallel lines) – Notifications and make sure the setting in Mobile Teams app is Only when inactive on desktop.

The settings are different on the mobile. Here is a recommended list of settings. Customize as required.

Mobile notifications

Never use Banner and Email

Banner and Email is almost never required. We are moving away from using email for collaboration. If you enable email notifications for events occurring in Teams, we are back to square one!

If you have a genuine use case for enabling email notifications, do let me know.

Channel Notifications

You may be a part of many teams. Each team has many channels. You will be actively involved in few specific channels. Pin them. Click on the … next to channel name and choose Pin.

Pinned channels are important to you – therefore, you need special notifications for activity in these channels.

Click … next to the channel and choose Channel Notifications. Decide what you want and choose the notification type.

Channel notification settings

Meeting Chat Notifications: OFF

During a meeting or online presentation / event lot of chat can happen. If meeting chat notification is ON, it can be extremely disturbing. Shut it off.

This option is right at the bottom of the notification dialog and you may miss it. Scroll all the way down and set it to Off.

Meeting chat notifications

How often should you check Teams Activity Feed

As often as you feel like going to Inbox. Whenever there is an urge to check if new mails have arrived, go to Teams first, then go to Inbox. You will get into the habit in a few days.

Manage intrusive notifications

We have minimized Banner type of intrusive notifications. But still, there will be some such notifications coming your way. The danger is that you get distracted, handle the notification and never come back to what you were originally doing.

To avoid that from happening, look at the notification, think if it requires some action. If that action requires any more than few minutes, go to the notification and SAVE the message – three dots – save.

This is like your short-term task list. Saved messages are visible when you open the menu by clicking on your Profile Picture.

Finish the work at hand. Then go and handle the saved, urgent action. Try it few times, it becomes second nature.

Learn more about Teams

Here are some more articles I have written about Teams usage.

If you are from IT, refer to Teams Policies and Governance. As of now, there is no way to customize Teams Notifications using Policy. Notifications is personal preference and therefore, users are at liberty to decide the settings convenient to them.

Conclusion

Even though Teams Notifications can be annoying and confusing, with little bit of one-time effort and common sense, you can customize them to your advantage.

Do let me know your thoughts and queries by posting comments. Do you have any specific pain areas or challenges? I would love to know and help you – to the best of my abilities. Cheers.

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