Microsoft to bring back on-site employees to headquarters on March 29

Employees have a choice to return or continue working remotely

Microsoft will bring back more employees to its headquarters starting on March 29, roughly a year after the company first instituted its work-from-home policy, Executive Vice President Kurt DelBene said Monday.

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The tech giant's Redmond, Washington, headquarters as well as nearby campuses will be able to accommodate an increase in on-site staff as it continues to track the progress against the virus in the region. However, the company didn't specify at what capacity.

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Throughout the pandemic, DelBene said that the company has been monitoring local health data and tracking government requirements in order to assess when it's safe to bring back employees in person.

Recently, it was determined that the Redmond "campus can safely accommodate more employees on-site while staying aligned to Washington state capacity limits," DelBene said.

Under Washington Gov. Jay Inslee's latest order, which took effect on Monday, professional services are encouraged to continue with remote work, although they are allowed to have up to 50% capacity.

People walk near a Microsoft office in New York on Nov. 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Swayne B. Hall)

However, employees at Redmond work sites or nearby campuses still have the "choice to return to those facilities or to continue working remotely" while also having the flexibility to do both.

MICROSOFT'S WORK-FROM-HOME POLICY TO BECOME PERMANENT

"As some employees return to our global work sites and others prefer or need to work remotely, we are finding additional ways of putting our hybrid workplace into practice," DelBene said.

In March 2020, the company mandated that all its employees, barring essential workers, must work from home while the world worked to minimize the spread of the virus.

Now, a majority of its global worksites have met or exceeded government requirements. In fact, sites in 21 countries, which represents about 20% of its global workforce, are able to accommodate additional workers.

However, many others "continue to work remotely," according to DelBene.

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"Our goal is to give employees further flexibility, allowing people to work where they feel most productive and comfortable, while also encouraging employees to work from home as the virus and related variants remain concerning," DelBene added.

In October, reports first surfaced that Microsoft would allow employees to permanently work from home and transition to a flexible "hybrid workplace" model when offices reopen.