Why shared mailboxes shouldn’t organise meetings

Bethany Reid
Tuesday 18 January 2022

A Microsoft 365 account allows staff and students individual access to Teams, OneDrive, and other Microsoft tools

We also offer non-personal accounts or shared mailboxes which are not associated with a single person, but a role or group. This creates a single point of contact with a team regardless of who is sitting behind the email address – [email protected], for example. It also allows for a smooth handover of interchangeable roles, like the Sabbatical Officers, so that new staff can access emails and appointments instantly.

These accounts are ‘Outlook only’ and don’t have access to Teams. You can still search for these mailboxes in Teams as they appear in our staff directory, but there no way for anyone to login. This is why you should always send chat messages and meeting appointments to an individual account, rather than president@ or any other role-based account.

When it comes to shared mailboxes and online meetings, there is an option in Outlook to schedule a Teams meeting. We advise shared mailbox users not to do this and create Teams meetings from their own account instead for these four reasons.

1. Can’t set meeting roles

There are three distinct roles in a Teams meeting. It’s necessary to set meeting roles ahead of time to protect your online event from unwanted disruptions. From least to most permission, they go:

1) Attendee 

Attendees have the most basic level of permission. They can have their camera and microphone on, participate in meeting chat, and use the live reactions like ‘raise hand’.

2) Presenter 

Presenters are your designated speakers and have permission levels to reflect that. They can do everything an attendee can, as well as share screen content, mute other participants, disable microphones, remove participants, change the role of other participants, as well as starting or stopping the meeting recording and transcription.

3) Organiser 

The account that sets up the meeting is the organiser. They have the most permission and are the only people that can view attendance reports, set up a lobby, manage breakout rooms, and importantly, change meeting options.

To set the roles, you need to access the ‘meeting options’ menu.

However, shared mailbox accounts do not have a personal Teams account associated with them. This means you can’t edit the ‘meeting options’ before or during your meeting. Everyone attending can mute and remove your presenters, write anything in the chat, and stop the recording.

If your meeting link falls into the wrong hands, you won’t be able to disable the meeting chat, microphones, or take any action against potential intruders.

Read the Microsoft guide ‘roles in a Teams meeting‘ for more information.

2. Can’t create breakout rooms

Another option for the organisers, as stated, is breakout rooms. Once in your meeting, you may want to make use of the breakout rooms function in Teams. This can be useful for splitting attendees into groups for discussion, or similar uses, such as:

  • Splitting students into smaller groups to work on a problem
  • Team training, where employees are split into groups to tackle a problem together
  • Focus groups, where facilitators can break attendees into smaller groups to listen to their views

For more information, read the Microsoft guide ‘use breakout rooms in Teams meetings.’

3. Can’t end the meeting for everyone

When it comes time to call your meeting to a close, you may be used to selecting ‘end meeting for all’. This means participants do not have to leave by themselves. Again, this is reserved for the meeting organisers only.

Read Microsoft’s guide ‘end a Teams meeting for everyone in attendance.

4. Can’t read attendance reports

Once your meeting is over, an attendance report is generated and available to the organiser. For some, this may not be an issue, but for a handful of meetings, record and proof of attendance is a crucial feature.

Read the Microsoft guide ‘view and download meeting attendance reports in Teams.’

Related topics

Subscribe to the IT Services blog

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog to receive notifications of new posts.