Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business News and Thoughts

Tom Arbuthnot MVP
Tom Arbuthnot MCSM Communications

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Setup Microsoft Teams for Group Collaboration Only; Turn Off Private Chat, Calling and Meetings

Published 16/10/2017 - 0 Comments

Out of the box, Microsoft Teams combines Collaboration and Unified Communications into a single interface:

  • Collaboration – “Team”/project based: group chat, document storage, app integration with tabs, connectors and bots and audio/video/screen sharing meetings/conferences)
  • Unified Communications – Chat (also know as private/direct messaging or “Instant Messaging”), direct Teams user to Teams user audio/video calls, and in the future telephone calls


The default current Microsoft Teams user experience looks like this (note the chat tab, for person to person chat):


When in a chat with a users, you have the ability to make calls to users in the top right:


In the Microsoft demo’s at Ignite we saw the addition of a “Calls” button in the menu bar too for telephony, though this is not yet generally available:


Microsoft are dubbing this combination, and the power of the cloud being leveraged in teams “Intelligent Communications”.

If possible, I recommend trying out Microsoft Teams with all the features on, as it gives you a real feel for what a “single client” experience could be like in Teams in the future, however for some organisations, particularly those with Skype for Business, they may wish not to give users two options for “chat”/Instant Messaging and person to person calling.

It is possible to turn these features off, below is Microsoft Teams with private chat and calling disabled:



At the moment the ability to turn off these features are at the tenant level (affecting all users) and set in the Office 365 Admin Center. PowerShell and per user settings are on the roadmap.



Disable Microsoft Teams Person to Person Calling (Private Calling)

This will remove the ability to do person to person calling from a Teams user to a Teams user or Teams user to Skype for Business user. This would also turn off “Telephone calling tab” in the future



Disable Microsoft Teams Private Chat (Instant Messaging)

This will remove the ability to do person to person chat in Teams (the chat tab)



Disable Microsoft Teams Meetings (Conferences)

If you want users to stick to SfB  meetings you can also disable Meetings (conferences):


Before, I can “schedule a meeting” from within Microsoft Teams:


After, the tab is not removed (oddly), but the schedule meeting button is gone:


I’m not 100% clear if this removes the Outlook scheduling button, but will try to test and update the blog (or if you have tested please let me know)

Tom Arbuthnot

Tom Arbuthnot

Principal Solutions Architect at Modality Systems
Tom Arbuthnot is Principal Solutions Architect at Unified Communications specialist Modality Systems. He is a Microsoft Certified Master and MVP, blogger, has a regular podcast with UCToday at and is a regular speaker at events including Microsoft TechEd and Ignite. He co-runs The Microsoft UC User Group London.

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