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For companies operating throughout Switzerland, it is essential that cantonal holidays are taken into account in the availability of customer service and employees. However, this often means additional effort for administration. Microsoft Teams Telephony offers solutions in this area, which lead to a reduction of internal efforts through configuration automations.

Call forwarding in Case of Absence

Microsoft Teams offers a separate phone number for each employee and centralized service numbers for departments or corporate services. While an automatic call forwarding of an employee to his voicemail has so far only been implemented in a very rudimentary way in Microsoft Teams, it has long been possible to implement a calendar-controlled call forwarding for service numbers for Teams call queues (Auto Attendant). Weekends and holidays as well as opening hours can be taken into account and a forwarding to voicemail, piket services or other locations can be defined.

Call Distribution for Swiss Public Holidays

Screenshots aus Admin Center von Microsoft Teams mit Feiertagen

Every year, manual adjustments have to be made to all calendars in Microsoft Teams operations, as the public vacations and vacation days in Switzerland vary from canton to canton. These manual adjustments are very time-consuming. With suitable measures in the Teams operation, the administrative effort can be massively reduced.

Holidays can be created directly in the Teams Admin Center under Voice then under Holidays, or when creating or modifying an Auto Attendant. To minimize the administrative effort, all holidays of the 26 cantons are created centrally under Holidays.

Microsoft Teams Admin Center

Screenshot aus Microsoft Teams mit Übersicht zu Auto Attendants
Screenshot aus Microsoft Teams mit Übersicht zu Telefonie Einstellungen

For the cantonal call distribution, only the relevant holidays of the respective canton need to be assigned to the corresponding Auto Attendant so that they are taken into account in the routing of the calls. The assignment is made in the Teams Admin Center by selecting the Attendant and the holidays.

PowerShell Script

Once all holidays have been created, only year and date changes need to be taken into account in subsequent years.To keep the process as simple as possible, the changes are made with a PowerShell script that updates the date entries of the general holiday list. As an example, the following excerpt shows the year changes for the new year.


#Update Holiday 2024
$HolidayName = "NewYear"
$DateRange = New-CsOnlineDateTimeRange -Start "2024-01-01T00:00:00" -End "2024-01-02T00:00:00"
$Neujahr = Get-CsOnlineSchedule | Where-Object {$_.Name -eq $HolidayName}
$Neujahr.FixedSchedule.DateTimeRanges = $DateRange
Set-CsOnlineSchedule -Instance $NewYear

Personal Voicemail of Employees

Screenshot aus Microsoft Teams mit Anzeige zu Abwesenheitsmeldungen

In contrast to calendar-controlled call forwarding for service numbers, Microsoft Teams does not offer any automatic mechanisms for employees. Call forwarding must always be initialized by the employee. However, Outlook Out of Office messages can now be used to forward employee calls to personal voicemail, which is a significant improvement over the previous use of «Out of Office» messages. Call forwarding is more specific about an employee's absence, while «Out of Office» messages are more general about a person's availability. For example, with «Out of Office» a person may be reachable and only working at the customer's site, while with automatic call forwarding it is clear that the employee is currently unavailable. 

Handy und Laptop mit dem offenen Microsoft Teams App

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Eckart Henning Potratz

Business Consultant
Master in Electrical Engineering
Eckart Henning Potratz