How to automatically approve shifts in Microsoft Teams

Since COVID-19 came along and required us to have more space between people, it has been necessary to find tools which allow us to limit the number of people that work together in a given space.

As an Office Manager, I quickly found the Shifts tool in Microsoft Teams. It proved really promising, but after giving it a shot for a few weeks, I quickly found its biggest pain point: Teams requires you to approve a shift that someone signs up for.

That’s a necessary and useful step in many industries, such as hospitality, however, in my case, I wanted to create a set number of open shifts, to limit occupancy of our office to 25%, and just have people sign up for them on a first-come, first-served basis, but the manager approval step quickly became a bottleneck, especially when people were looking to come to the office on short notice.

I finally found a solution that I just tested which removes the manager approval step by automatically approving shift requests.

Office 365 has a tool called Microsoft Power Automate (previously Microsoft Flow), which is an automation tool for Office products, much like Zapier, or IFTTT (If This Then That).

Microsoft created a workflow which you can copy to your own Team and enable, which will instantly and automatically approve all shift requests without intervention from a shift manager.

It’s very easy to set up:

  1. Go to the Microsoft Power Automate template provided by Microsoft for this purpose.
  2. Click on Continue if you’re connected to the correct Microsoft Account.
  3. Choose the correct Team in the first step of the workflow.
  4. Change the “Message from Manager” to whatever you please.
  5. Hit Save.
  6. Job done

It really is as simple as that. For as long as I struggled with this, the solution was much simpler than I was expecting. It was just not very well-advertised (hence me writing about it to increase awareness).

By Dave

Dave is the proud father of Ellie and Jack. There's nothing that makes him happier than spending time with his incredible wife and their amazing children. He's a civil/mechanical engineer and he also builds and maintains WordPress websites.

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