- Microsoft will open up its US headquarters to more employees beginning on March 29.
- Employees will be able to return to the office some or all the time, or continue working remotely.
- Microsoft is one of several major tech companies considering a hybrid schedule for employees.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Microsoft will open up its US headquarters to more employees by the end of this month, the company announced Monday.
Beginning March 29, Microsoft employees who typically work at the company’s Redmond, Washington, headquarters or nearby offices will have the option to return to those campuses some or all of the time. Employees will also be allowed to continue working remotely if they wish, Microsoft said in a blog post announcing the update.
“We’ve been closely monitoring local health data for months and have determined that the campus can safely accommodate more employees on-site while staying aligned to Washington state capacity limits,” Kurt DelBene, Microsoft’s head of corporate strategy, wrote.
Microsoft offices in 21 countries around the world have also added additional workers, with about 20% of its global workforce working at an office, according to the blog post.
“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,” DelBene wrote.
Microsoft said in October that it would extend its work-from-home policy until July 6, 2021 “at the earliest.” The company also announced that month that its policy going forward will allow most employees to work remotely at least half of the time – employees who wish to work remotely full time or relocate may do so with manager approval.
According to a survey Microsoft conducted among those who have already returned to the office, it seems many employees currently prefer some sort of hybrid work schedule: About half of those who have gone back to the office are spending 25% of their time there, DelBene wrote in the blog post.
Microsoft joins many major tech companies in planning for a hybrid workforce. Salesforce announced last month that it will provide employees three new ways to work going forward. Most employees will adopt a “flex” schedule where they’ll report to the office up to three days each week for tasks that are more challenging to do over video calls, like team collaboration, customer meetings, and presentations.
Andy Jassy, the current CEO of Amazon Web Services who will take over as Amazon’s chief executive in the third quarter of this year, told CNBC in December that he predicts most people will adopt a hybrid work model. Jassy said he expects the future of work to be “hot offices” where employees decide when to come in and then reserve a desk.
Google appears likely to take some sort of hybrid approach as well: CEO Sundar Pichai said previously that he doesn’t think “the future is just 100% remote.”
“We firmly believe that in-person, being together, having that sense of community, is super important for whenever you have to solve hard problems, you have to create something new,” he said.
Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, said last year that he believes most employees still want a desk at a physical office versus working from home on a permanent basis.
“In the Seattle region, where we have sent a lot of people home,” Nadella said, “we’re realizing people would rather have workspace at work once the COVID-19 crisis goes away.”