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Microsoft Teams wobbles under flood of remote workers

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Microsoft’s work collaboration platform has suffered “functionality problems” as remote workers appeared to push it to capacity.

The Covid-19 pandemic has prompted governments around the world to recommend or enforce social distancing, such as switching to remote work and study wherever possible in order to minimise risk of transmitting the virus. Many events, classes, lectures, and meetings are now moving online, putting strain on cloud-based work collaboration platforms like Slack and Microsoft Teams.

Teams started experiencing hiccups this morning as European users signed in at the beginning of their working day. Users found that some messages were failing to send and services such as calendars were struggling.

Others reported issues with creating and modifying teams, recording meetings, and with screen-sharing tools.

Downdetector reported that while issues are primarily affecting those in Europe, some users in North America, Asia, and Africa are also having problems with the platform.

Microsoft acknowledged that the service was suffering from “degradation” and “messaging-related functionality problems” and set to work trying to keep the platform afloat. It later announced on Twitter that the issues affecting chat should be fixed.

At the end of last week, Microsoft announced that it was adding capacity in preparation to support remote workers amid the pandemic: “One of the benefits of a cloud service is the ability to scale dynamically, including utilisation of our significant supply chain, reallocation of resources between services, and redistribution of load. We have seen an increase in the utilisation of Microsoft teams which we have responded to and continue to monitor closely.”

Microsoft added that it “although [it] is doing what [it] can to avoid problems, an unexpected peak in an area due to a spread of the virus may create temporary issues”. Microsoft also announced that it would roll out an enhanced version of the free version of Microsoft Teams, which includes formerly premium features and does not restrict the number of people in a team.

The Microsoft Teams conference, Commsverse, which was due to take place in the UK in late April, has been postponed until July due to the covid-19 pandemic.

Microsoft Teams rival Slack is fully functioning at present, although it suffered from some reported outages last week as demand mounted for remote working services.

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