Microsoft to allow some staff to work from home indefinitely

‘Our goal is to evolve the way we work over time,’ spokesperson says

Louise Hall
Friday 09 October 2020 21:08 BST
The Microsoft logo is seen at the French headquarters of the US multinational technology company
The Microsoft logo is seen at the French headquarters of the US multinational technology company (AFP via Getty Images)
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Microsoft is allowing some of its employees to work from home permanently even when their US offices reopen.

The tech company will unveil a “hybrid workplace” guidance to allow workers greater flexibility in choosing their own working environment, Verge reported.

The new plan will reportedly allow employees to work from home freely for less than 50 per cent of their working week, or to allow them to seek approval from managers for permanent remote work.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has challenged all of us to think, live, and work in new ways,” Kathleen Hogan, Microsoft’s chief people officer, reportedly said in a note to employees.  

“We will offer as much flexibility as possible to support individual workstyles, while balancing business needs, and ensuring we live our culture.”

The vast majority of Microsoft employees are still working from home during the ongoing pandemic, but new guidelines will apply even when offices are able to function as usual.

“We shared guidelines internally this week to provide options for our employees to plan ahead for when we can return to the workplace safely,” a Microsoft spokesperson told The Independent.

“Our goal is to evolve the way we work over time with intention—guided by employee input, data, and our commitment to support individual workstyles and business needs while living our culture.”

The hybrid model offers flexibility and enables some employees to continue to work from home, while others may return to Microsoft worksites.

Microsoft reportedly noted in the guidelines that some roles will be difficult to transition to full-time remote working such as those who require access to hardware labs, data centres, and in-person training.

Those who decide to take up the option to work permanently from home will forfeit their designated working space, Verge said.

The move comes months after the company reportedly notified employees that its US offices wouldn’t reopen until January 2021 at the earliest.

Microsoft is the latest in a string of large tech companies who have announced prolonged working from home options for most of their employees as a result of the pandemic.

In July, Google announced that its staff will work from home until at least July 2021 with chief executive Sundar Pichai stating the company’s 200,000 workers would not have to return to offices.

“To give employees the ability to plan ahead, we are extending our global voluntary work from home option through 30 June, 2021 for roles that don’t need to be in the office,” a statement read.

Facebook later echoed the decision saying that they would be extending work home until July 2021, providing employees with $750 to develop a home office. The tech giant boasts 48,000 members of staff, which are typically based in 70 offices around the world.

Twitter also informed employees they will no longer be required to come into the office, announcing plans to adopt a permanent work-from-home structure allocating staff $1000 in order to do so.

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