Microsoft to reopen Washington offices at end of February

Microsoft employees will continue to work under a flexible hybrid model

Microsoft has announced plans to reopen its offices in Washington State to employees, visitors and guests starting on Feb. 28. 

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For the past two years, the tech giant has been operating under a phased return-to-the-office plan, which has been subject to a variety of considerations including COVID-19 case and hospitalization data, local government guidance, the availability of vaccines and vaccination rates. 

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The Microsoft headquarters campus in Redmond, Washington.  (iStock / iStock)

The company originally intended for its employees to return to the office beginning in October, but decided to scrap those plans following a surge in coronavirus cases due to the spread of the omicron variant. 

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As of Feb. 8, approximately 83.8% of eligible residents in King County, Washington, have completed their vaccine series, while 91.6% have received at least one dose. The company also touted declining hospitalizations and deaths as the reason behind its decision to move to its sixth and final phase.  

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In addition to its Washington offices, Microsoft's offices in California's Bay Area will also reopen on Feb. 28. The company anticipates the rest of its U.S. locations will follow suit "as conditions allow."

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Microsoft employees will continue to work under a flexible hybrid model. The company emphasized that employees will have 30 days from the reopening date to make adjustments to their routines and adopt the working preferences they’ve agreed upon with their managers.

"We know there’s not a singular solution to how people work best, which is why we believe flexibility should be at the forefront of our evolving hybrid workplace," Microsoft Chief Marketing Officer Chris Capossela said in a blog post Monday. "We’ve committed to empowering our managers with tools and resources to provide employees with the level of care they need during this transition, which includes the ability to approve requests to adjust their work site, location or hours."

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As for its competitors, Meta will reopen its offices on March 28 and require employees to receive COVID-19 boosters. Meanwhile, Google said it will decide on its return-to-the-office plans later this year following omicron-related delays.