What is Busy on Busy in Microsoft Teams?

Busy on Busy (sometimes written as busy-on-busy) is the name given to the feature in Microsoft Teams, where second incoming calls can be automatically rejected when a user is already in a call or meeting.

Busy on Busy settings controls if the client shows any subsequent incoming calls or meeting requests. What happens to these other incoming calls depends on a combination of the user’s calling policy and call settings but they are either rejected outright with a busy tone or obey the user’s configured unanswered call-answering rules.

Can the Microsoft Teams client be in more than one call or meeting at a time?

The Microsoft Teams client can only be active in one call or meeting at a time. Multiple calls or meetings can be open, but only one will be processing media, with the rest will be placed on hold. By default, the Microsoft Teams client will still show incoming notifications for new calls even if the user is already in one. They can then choose to answer the call (placing the original on hold) or dismiss it, which will then obey whatever has been configured for the user.

Call on hold

Why do you need Busy on Busy settings?

Some people do not like being disturbed when they are already on a call, so they do not want to receive more incoming calls or meeting invites. On the other hand, others may want to see all incoming calls so they can choose which one is more important or relevant for them.

This expectation from users about how secondary incoming calls are handled can be quite a cultural hot potato as it can appear rude if you are allowed to be distracted or disturbed during a call with someone. When considering how to configure this for your tenant, it is essential to check in with different groups of users about what they would expect to happen before applying a blanket global policy that might not be suitable for everyone.

Take the following factors into consideration when determining how to configure busy on busy:

  • Job role
  • Type of calls being made
  • Company culture
  • Country culture
  • User preference

Controlling Busy on Busy in Microsoft Teams?

The busy on busy feature is managed through the Calling Policy assigned to the user, either from the global tenant-wide policy or in user-specific ones.

The Calling Policies can be found in the Teams Admin Center under Voice > Calling Policies. Here you can see all the policies for your organization, click on the policy you want to modify (or add a new one) and look in the settings for the option called: “Busy on busy when in a call”.

Calling policy settings

Here you have four choices that can be configured:

  • Not enabled – Leaves the default setting which is other incoming calls are allowed to ring and show as normal when the user is in a call.
  • Enabled – Incoming calls will be rejected using a busy tone.
  • Unanswered – Calls will obey the users unanswered call settings configured in their client.
  • User controlled – Lets the users configure their own preferences in the Teams client.

This last setting, “User controlled” isn’t fully available as of January 2023, an update coming in February 2023 for the Teams desktop clients will allow users to configure their busy on busy settings from the client directly.