Microsoft is delaying the complete reopening of the offices – the company’s “Stage 6” phase in the hybrid plan for the workplace – until September 7 at the earliest. This marks a delay from the originally scheduled July window.
“Based on our continued consultation with health and computer experts, we have moved our earliest date for full opening of our US workplaces to September 7, 2021. We continue to review the situation locally in each region / country / state where we work and will adjust the dates by country as needed, ”confirmed a Microsoft spokesperson The Verge.
Microsoft Executive Vice President Kurt DelBene explained the decision to postpone full reopening in an email to employees obtained by Business Insider: “We believe that this date will provide additional flexibility for employees to create summer plans, and we will continue to keep you updated if the date moves out.” In addition, the email notes that Microsoft will give regional office managers room to push that date further, depending on the health and safety conditions in their local area.
The company has already begun to reopen in limited capacity. Earlier in March, the company noted that about 20 percent of staff worldwide were back in office, and it slowly began reopening its headquarters in Redmond and Seattle, Washington, on March 29.
That said, the transition to a more remote workplace at Microsoft caused by the COVID-19 pandemic seems to be a permanent change in the company’s culture. Going forward, it plans to make the opportunity to work from home for up to 50 percent of the week the standard for most positions, with the opportunity to discuss more comprehensive shifts to teleworking with executives.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged us all to think, live and work in new ways,” said Kathleen Hogan, Microsoft’s chief of staff, in a note in October last year. “We want to offer as much flexibility as possible to support individual work styles, while balancing business needs and ensuring that we live by our culture.”