This week, tech giant Microsoft announced its plans to make remote work permanent for a majority of its 150,000 employees. In a memo acquired by The Verge, Microsoft CPO Kathleen Hogan revealed that employees will be allowed to work from home for more than half the workweek, and if given the green light by managers, they could work from home entirely.
Even as most employees continue to work remotely due to the pandemic, Microsoft is restructuring its operations to include a “hybrid workplace” that will guide the company towards increased flexibility when offices finally reopen. However, the company acknowledges that the transition into remote work may be difficult or even impossible for its hands-on employees, like the ones working in labs, product development and in-person training. Those employees will still have to report to their official work stations. But for those who can work entirely remotely, Microsoft will give room for relocation, even to international locations if approved.
Microsoft began allowing its employees to work remotely from March, but made it mandatory soon after, as the pandemic escalated through the US. This new announcement comes hot on the heels of its previous decision to keep its US offices closed till January 2021. This new move will include compensation for expenses incurred from home offices, as well as flexible work hours not subject to manager approval, and part-time working hours at request. The employees who choose to take up the permanent remote work offer will have to surrender their office spaces but will have the option to use the touchdown space at Microsoft’s offices.
According to Ms. Hogan, the pandemic brought with it an opportunity to reinvent the workplace as well as change work interactions. She reiterated Microsoft’s commitment to enhancing flexibility and to offering as much individual support to employees as possible to allow them to meet the business’ needs while at the same time living according to the current climate.
In a confirmatory email to Business Insider, Microsoft corroborated the report by The Verge, adding, “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.”
The tech titan joins a growing list of companies pledging to extend their remote work policies indefinitely. Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg, announced their plans to let up to 50% of their workforce stay remote for the next 5 to 10 years. Another CEO, Marwan Abdelaziz of Ureed.com confirmed in an interview that the company’s employees will remain remote for the foreseeable future.
The pandemic has shown that remote work is possible, and is even better for productivity than in-office work. It is therefore to be expected that more companies will join the bandwagon to make working from home permanent in days to come.