Microsoft 365 Shared Mailboxes

The best way to handle a former employee’s email

One of the more frequent requests that comes into our support desk is something like “John Doe is no longer working here. Ann Jones needs access to his mailbox until we hire a replacement.” You could just change John’s account email and give it to Ann, but what if multiple people need access to John’s email. With multi-factor authentication (MFA) – it’s harder to share passwords. (If you’re not using MFA – you should be.)

Microsoft 365 includes a feature called Shared Mailboxes that is perfect for this scenario. You convert the former employee’s mailbox to a shared mailbox and give access to any employees that need it.

Navigate to (you have to be an Admin to do this) and find the former employee in the Mailboxes list on the left side menu (under Recipients). When you select the mailbox, there is an option to “Convert to shared mailbox”. Click this option and confirm. Once this conversion is done, this mailbox will still show in this list, but with a Recipient Type of “SharedMailbox”.

Once the conversion is done, you can grant access to other users using the “Manage mailbox delegation” option. You can decide if they only need to read messages or if they need the ability to “Send As” the former employee.

That’s it. The best part is – you’ve just freed up a license because the Shared Mailbox doesn’t require a license, only the users who you grant access to (who should already have licenses).

If the users you granted access to are using Outlook, the shared mailbox should show up in the bottom left corner of Outlook automatically within a minute or so. If they are using Outlook Web, they can click on the circle in the top right corner with their picture or initials and choose “Open another mailbox” and enter the former employee’s email address.

If you’d like help with this or anything else related to Microsoft 365, visit us here –


Use Microsoft Teams as a PBX

If you’re the owner of a small start-up company, you’ve been forced to decide “Do I need a business telephone number or do I just give everyone my cell number?”

For many small companies, the cost of a phone system (PBX) and phone service is hard to justify given how often it will be used. In addition to the cost, many VOIP handsets get their power from a special POE (“Power over Ethernet”) switch that you have at your office, but your remote employees probably don’t have at home. Firewall and VPN issues can add to the complexity.

Many companies are already using Microsoft Teams for internal communications, but – did you know you can link it to the phone network and make and receive phone calls?

For about $20/user/month in licensing fees (in addition to your existing Microsoft 365/Teams license fees), you can add Phone System to your Microsoft Teams environment.

As a pilot project, we just set this up internally at Technicality. We had been using Grasshopper as our “business phone”, but I didn’t like the fact that if someone called the business phone number, it was forwarded to my cell phone and I couldn’t tell if it was a business call or a personal call.

We ported our main number from Grasshopper and have set up an automated attendant (“For sales, press 1. For tech support, press 2…”) to answer calls to the main number. Each licensed Teams user now has their own direct dial (DID) number, so we can give out our direct number or have people call the main number and be transferred to us via the auto attendant.

Incoming calls can be answered on your computer (in the Teams client) or on your mobile phone (in the Teams app). The incoming Caller ID number shows up in the Teams app, so you can tell that you’re receiving a business call via Teams (as opposed to someone dialing your cell number).

Voicemail is included for each licensed user and incoming calls can automatically be sent to voicemail based on your Teams status. Teams automatically transcribes the voicemail message and you can see it in your Teams client or app.

I especially like the fact that you can type a script (for the automated attendant message or for your voicemail message) and Teams will create a “human sounding” voice message (as opposed to having to record and upload the file). If you want to hear what it sounds like – call 205.208.9050. The recording you hear was automatically generated from a typed script.

This isn’t a great solution for everyone. If you really need a physical phone, you can do that with Teams but it’s more complicated/expensive. But – if you’re a small, remote startup and already pretty comfortable with Teams, this may be worth a try to have a “business phone system” without additional phone equipment.

If you have questions or would like help with setting this up, you can call us at the number above, or book a time to discuss (complimentary) on our website.

And – you can quit giving out your cell number.