About this time in 2020, offices of many tech companies were forced to close and workers were ordered to work from home. This was due to the spread of the coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic. Though the virus has not been effectively contained, companies are beginning to work towards reopening; and the latest to announce such a plan is Microsoft.
Microsoft had earlier announced a date in July as when its workers would return to working from its offices around the world; that has now been changed. The software giant has announced that its offices will not be fully reopened until September 7th, which the company said is the earliest date.
“Based on our continued consultation with health and data experts, we’ve shifted our earliest date for the full opening of our U.S. worksites to September 7, 2021. We continue to review the situation on a local basis in each region/country/state where we work and will adjust dates by country as needed,” a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed to The Verge.
In an email sent to members of staff, Microsoft executive vice president Kurt DelBene gave reasons why the July date is no longer feasible.
“We believe this date will afford additional flexibility for employees to make summer plans, and we’ll continue to keep you updated if the date moves out.”
COVID-19 has changed a lot of things; companies are now beginning to mull over the idea of working from home. Twitter, Facebook and Microsoft now see working remotely as an option that can be explored. While it may take time for things to get back to being normal, most tech companies apparently are in no rush to fully reopen.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged all of us to think, live, and work in new ways,” says Kathleen Hogan, Microsoft’s chief people officer, in a note last October. “We will offer as much flexibility as possible to support individual workstyles, while balancing business needs, and ensuring we live our culture.”
Last year, Google rescinded earlier plans to allow its employees to resume work on the 1st of June. Explaining his company’s decision, Google’s Chief Executive, Sundar Pichai told the BBC that employees who needed to get back to work would be able to do so from July with enhanced safety protocols adhered to.
Mr Pichai, however, said most of its employees could carry on working from home remotely until the end of the year.