Microsoft Prepares to Reopen Its Offices and Enter the Hybrid-Work Era
By Kimberly Chin
Microsoft Corp., one of the first American companies to ask
staff to shift to remote work more than a year ago as the pandemic
hit, is ready to begin welcoming employees back to the office.
Microsoft's Redmond, Wash., headquarters and nearby campuses are
to start shifting to a hybrid-work approach on March 29, with some
employees returning to office desks while others work from home,
the company said Monday.
"Our goal is to give employees further flexibility, allowing
people to work where they feel most productive and comfortable,
while also encouraging employees to work from home as the virus and
related variants remain concerning," Microsoft said in a blog
The software company's office locations spanning 21 countries
will be ready to accommodate additional workers in compliance with
guidance from local authorities, the company said. The initial
guidance affects roughly 20% of Microsoft's more than 160,000
employees, the company said.
Microsoft said it doesn't expect to recall all employees any
time soon. Once the coronavirus pandemic is no longer a significant
threat to communities, Microsoft said it expects partial working
from home to be routine for many of its jobs. The company
previously has said it will allow some workers to work remotely on
a permanent basis with their manager's approval.
With the Covid-19 vaccine rollout progressing, the shift to
hybrid work is shaping up to be a critical challenge for companies
this year, not unlike last year's rush to figure out how to keep
business going with employees scattered at home. Like last year,
actions aren't uniform.
Many companies are still holding off on bringing work back to
the office. Google parent Alphabet Inc. is keeping most of its
staff working remotely until at least September. Social-media
company Twitter Inc. said that most of its staff would be able to
keep working remotely after the pandemic has ended. Facebook Inc.
has moved toward having a substantially larger portion of employees
The number of Americans working from home surged during the
pandemic, and many corporate leaders expect that to continue.
According to a global survey by Microsoft that was released on
Monday, 73% of workers said they want flexible work-from-home
policies to stay, and 65% of employees reported wanting more
in-person time with their teams after the pandemic. About 66% of
businesses were considering redesigning offices to accommodate
hybrid work environments.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
March 22, 2021 15:13 ET (19:13 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.