Microsoft will allow employees to work from home on a permanent basis even when offices reopen, according to internal guidance issued this week.
The company unveiled a plan for a ‘hybrid workplace’ that will allow employees greater flexibility on whether they return to working in an office full-time or not, The Verge reports.
Under this plan, employees will be allowed to work from home for less than 50 percent of the working week or request permanent remote work through their manager.
The vast majority of the software maker’s employees are still currently working from home amid the coronavirus pandemic, and the company has said they would not reopen offices until at least January 2021.
Microsoft told employees this week that they could have the option to work from home permanently and will be allowed to relocate domestically or internationally if their role allows
Microsoft highlighted in the guidance that some roles within the company will require employees to return back to an office. They include roles that require access to hardware labs, data centers, and in-person training.
The guidance also states that employees will be able to request to relocate domestically, or even internationally, if their role allows.
If an employee does to chose to relocate, their pay and benefits could change, however, depending on the company’s own geo-pay scale.
While home office expenses will be covered by Microsoft, those who choose to move away from a company office will have to cover their own relocation expenses.
Part-time working hours will be available for employees with approval from their manager, while flexible working hours will be in place without needing approval as the company works to find a solution for all staff.
‘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 DailyMail.com.
‘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.’
Several of the world’s largest tech companies have said they will allow employees to work from home permanently once offices begin to reopen.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told The Verge that up to half if its employees could work remotely in the next five to ten years.
They are in the process of shifting tens of thousands of jobs to remote work.
Google has committed to keeping its 200,000 employees working from home until at least July 2021.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella also spoke about the difficulties of remote work this week
Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai made the decision in July after debate among an internal group of top executives.
In May, Jack Dorsey, the CEO of both Twitter and Square, told employees at both firms that they can continue working from home permanently if they chose to do so.
But some jobs that require the physical presence of employees at the office will still require those workers to show up.
‘We’ve been very thoughtful in how we’ve approached this from the time we were one of the first companies to move to a work-from-home model,’ a Twitter spokesperson said at the time.
‘We’ll continue to be, and we’ll continue to put the safety of our people and communities first.’
Spotify followed Twitter and Facebook’s lead to allow staffers to work from home until the end of the year.
Amazon initially told its corporate employees who can work from home that they will be allowed to continue to do so until at least October 2.
However in July, the Seattle-based online retailer adjusted its policy to allow most of its office-based employees to continue working from home until at least January 8, 2021.
‘We continue to prioritize the health of our employees and follow local government guidance,’ Amazon said in a statement.
‘Employees who work in a role that can effectively be done from home are welcome to do so until January 8th.
Microsoft has said it will not begin reopening its offices again until at least January 2021
‘We have invested significant funds and resources to keep those who choose to come to the office safe through physical distancing, deep cleaning, temperature checks, and by providing face coverings and hand sanitizer.’
The work-from-home option does not apply to the company’s large warehouse-based workforce, which includes many hourly and contract workers.
The outlier among tech giants was Apple, which asked employees to start returning to the office in June.
The employees were asked to return its new Silicon Valley campus, which cost billions of dollars to build, because of hardware-development processes required them to work from the office, according to Bloomberg.
But Apple also told its workers that it does not expect a full return to offices until at least next year.
Tech companies began to encourage employees to work from home beginning in March, when the coronavirus began to spread significantly in the United States.
Microsoft initially allowed employees to work from home only if they wished to do so as the first cases of coronavirus hit the US, before making it mandatory when Seattle emerged as one of the country’s first outbreak hotspots.
The company’s CEO Satya Nadella this week spoke about the difficulties of remote work and said that it can sometime make you feel like you’re ‘sleeping at work’.
At The Wall Street Journal CEO Council on Tuesday, Nadella said that online meetings can make employees tired, according to Republic World.
In a bid to address it, the company launched the ‘virtual commute’ to aid employees transition from work to home life.
The US has now have more than 7.6million coronavirus cases and 212,000 deaths.