Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ:MSFT) has said that it will reopen its Seattle and Redmond, Washington headquarters and nearby campuses later this month. The company will allow employees in the areas to choose between returning to offices, working remotely, or working in a hybrid model.
Microsoft is allowing employees in Redmond and Seattle back to offices
The software giant started encouraging its employees to work remotely over a year ago, just as the COVID-19 pandemic began. Its US officers have remained closed for months, but this is likely to change from March 29, when the company will start reopening its Seattle and Redmond headquarters. The company said that they have been monitoring health data closely for months and have established that their campuses can accommodate more staff on-site while taking into consideration the Washington state capacity limits.
Microsoft’s corporate strategy head Kurt DelBene said that the company’s current work sites in 21 countries have managed to accommodate more workers in their facilities representing almost 20% of Microsoft’s global staff population. Microsoft currently has over 160,000 employees globally. DelBene confirmed that from the end of this month, they will start making a shift at the Redmond headquarters and surrounding campuses.
The company indicated that they are watching the progress against COVID_19 in Washington, and as a result, they will continue evaluating the situation to allow workers around the area to return to the office or continue working from home. DelBene said that they will give employees the flexibility to adopt a hybrid model.
Microsoft to try a hybrid working model
In October last year, Microsoft has indicated that it will allow flexibility, permitting its employees to work remotely, even after office return becomes safe. Microsoft stated that it would allow its employees to work from home less than 50% of their time. Similarly, employees can ask for managers’ approval to work remotely full-time or move to a new location. With office work closed for months due to the pandemic, employers have started to shift to a hybrid work model, with some planning to do away with traditional office spaces completely.
The reopening is part of the six stages Microsoft highlighted last year. Most importantly, this will be stage four or what is referred to as soft opening, which will allow more employees to return to officers. The fifth stage is opening offices with restrictions before finally opening fully without restrictions.
Remote working is becoming a standard
In the 2021 version of the Work Trend Index, which is a report surveying how employees and businesses are responding to COVID-19, the company established that 73% of the employees wanted to continue working remotely. The software giant considers working from home a standard for workers, and it is seeking ways of leveraging tech to bridge the gap between traditional officers and remote working. DelBene said that they have brought together a group of engineers, researchers, and real estate experts to pilot the hybrid model in Redmond and UK campuses.