Breakout rooms in Microsoft Teams will soon be persistent, including the ability to re-assign participants when rooms are open and for organisers to set a breakout room timer.


Rollout begins mid-April 2021 and should be complete by late April.


Teams meeting organisers will be able to configure and manage Breakout Rooms within the Teams desktop client and will have access to three options.

  1. Room assignment retention – Participants will remain assigned to the same breakout room groups unless the organiser changes them. The breakout room assignment persists across all subsequent sessions and/or recurring meetings.
  2. Participant reassignment while rooms are open Organisers can re-assign participants between rooms as well as the main meeting room whilst breakout rooms are open. 
  3. Set timers for breakout sessions Organisers can set a timer for all breakout rooms from the breakout rooms settings panel.

For participates – all devices and clients that support the breakout room feature should work fine.

When the organiser has set a timer, the clock will show the participants the time left in the room (countdown) rather than time elapsed. The participants are alerted when the session timer gets to 60 seconds.

The organiser can choose:

  • to automatically redirect participants back to the main meeting room (default) or
  • to provide participants with the option to return to the main meeting room or disconnect from the meeting. If the timer expires before participants take action, then an alert appears containing a button to return them to the main meeting.


  • Once the organiser opens a timed breakout room, participants are invited to join; the timer starts when the first participant joins.
  • If no participants join, the breakout room will not open.
  • If all participants leave a breakout room before the timer expires, the room will close automatically.

Learn more about Microsoft Teams Breakout Rooms by watching this YouTube video from Microsoft Education