The COVID-19 pandemic has forced companies around the world to let employees work from home. Across the tech sector, that trend has caught on for the long-term. A number of high-profile companies, including Twitter, Shopify, and Slack, have all agreed to let employees work from home on a permanent basis if their position allows it.
Now, one of the biggest names in tech—Microsoft—is joining in. According to internal guidance that was obtained by The Verge, the company is preparing to let its employees work from home with much more flexibility.
Employees will reportedly be free to work from home for less than 50 percent of their week once offices reopen. In addition, managers will be able to approve permanent work-from-home positions.
Unlike many companies, Microsoft has flourished during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has had a number of successful hardware releases and appears to be taking a lead over Sony in the console gaming world. The company’s suite of productivity tools—especially Teams—has become more important than ever in today’s era of videoconferencing. As always, Office remains a vital subscription for creatives and office workers alike.
All of that success has come with Microsoft employees working from home since March. The company originally made it a choice before mandating remote work as the pandemic worsened. Microsoft has previously said that its offices won’t reopen until January 2021. However, that timeline could be pushed back if the pandemic continues to rage.
In the meantime, Microsoft is preparing for a future where employees don’t want to return to their physical offices. After nearly a year of working from home, that’s understandable.
In a letter to employees, Microsoft’s chief people officer Kathleen Hogan, says, “The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged all of us to think, live, and work in new ways. We will offer as much flexibility as possible to support individual workstyles, while balancing business needs, and ensuring we live our culture.”
Although not every employee will be able to embrace remote work, Microsoft’s new guidelines make it a feasible option for many.
Remote Work Road Trip
One trend occurring because of COVID-related remote work policies is that of employees moving to new locations. After all, there’s no reason to sit at home when you can be working in a beachfront condo or a mountaintop cabin. Suddenly, anywhere with an internet connection has become a viable office.
Microsoft’s new remote work policies will allow employees to move across the country or internationally so long as they can meet the responsibilities of their position. The company intends to cover office expenses for employees who choose to stay home. On top of this, workers will be offered flexible hours or can request to work part-time if they don’t want to stick with their normal schedule.
Of course, employees who choose to work from home but remain near a Microsoft campus always have the option of using its touchdown spaces.
It will be interesting to see how Microsoft manages this unprecedented shift towards a remote work model and whether or not other large companies follow suit.