Out of Office

Cloud Voicemail and Out of Office Greetings

Earlier this year, Microsoft changed how voicemail worked for Skype for Business on-premises customers. There was little difference to end users when Unified Messaging changed to Cloud Voicemail, but it did break a few Auto Attendant options for those not in the cloud.

At the time I remember it being rather difficult to find out information on, and the good contacts I had at vendors also struggled to gather intel on how the change would go.

In the end, the migration happened and it was thankfully a non-event. What I didn’t realise at the time, was that it introduced a new portal for Voicemail settings at https://admin1.online.lync.com/lscp/usp/voicemail (which has slight variations where you are in the world, for Australia it’s https://admin1au.online.lync.com/lscp/usp/voicemail – but the links seem to redirect to where they need to go) and there’s a few interesting settings:

The Call Answer Rules section (Choose how you want your calls to be handled when they reach the voicemail service) lets you pick what happens when someone hears your voicemail, including the last option ‘Play greeting, then allow the caller to recording a message or transfer to the target user’. If you set this, you can then enter the number you want calls to go to if someone does press ‘0’ – such as Reception, or your mobile phone. The default setting is ‘Play greeting, then allow the caller to record a message’.

The Prompt Language section (Changing this setting will change the greeting prompt language) will change the language and accent of the greeting – so if you’d like them to sound Australian, you can choose that.

The Configure Out of Office greeting section (Customize an Out of Office greeting message, and choose to play it to callers all the time, based on your Outlook auto-reply status, or calendar OOF status) was the one I liked the most. It can sync with your mailbox to know when you’re Out of Office via your current Outlook status (either with an autoreply, or just in a meeting with the status ‘Out of Office’), and when true, give a different message to the caller saying you’re out of the office.

There’s also another option Text-to-Speech Customized Greeting Option (Customize your Text-to-speech greeting message) that lets you customise the generic Out of Office greeting to whatever you like. Although you can only type your greeting message, the text-to-speech works really well and sounds natural.

To me, this is great. I can set a generic ‘I’m out of the office, please call X on this number’ which only plays when I’m actually out of the office. If I’m not, then a caller will hear my standard greeting and can leave a message, instead of hassling co-workers. I don’t have to remember to set it or change it, it just applies if I do the right thing in my Outlook calendar.

If you’ve got Cloud Voicemail; which you should if you’re on Skype for Business, Skype for Business Online, or Microsoft Teams as your phone system, check it out and save yourself some time from changing your voicemail when you go on leave, or just have a meeting when you’re not around.

Exchange 2010 – Out of Office for HelpDesk


One of the pains of looking after Exchange 2010 is putting in an Out of Office message for someone who forgot to do it before they went away, and either can’t or won’t do it themselves remotely. If you’re lucky enough to be able to delegate this task out to others, you can easily do so with “Role Based Access Control”. There’s a nice built in group called ‘Help Desk’ which gives the members access to everyone’s Outlook Web Access Options (not their actual emails). These options include Out of Office as well as several other useful settings that are not particularly private or contain confidential information.

To do this, from the Exchange Management Console go to Toolbox > Role Based Access Control (RBAC) User Editor. This will bring up a web page that is a part of Outlook Web Access – log in with the relevant credentials for Exchange Administration, and you can navigate to the Roles & Auditing Section:


From this, you can double click on the Help Desk entry from the list of Role Groups, and add members to the list.

Once this is done, the users who were added to the group can access other user’s Out of Office by logging onto Outlook Web Access, going to Options > Set Automatic Replies. You’ll be greeted with this screen:

auto replies

From here, you can drop down the ‘Manage Myself’ menu and choose ‘Another User…’, select your user and you’ll see the selected users options screen, allowing you to set Out of Office.

Hope that helps!

Update 7th October 2014:

I had someone ask as the above didn’t work for them, but it was due to one of the Assigned Roles being removed against Help Desk. They should be:

Assigned Roles:
Message Tracking
User Options
View-Only Recipients