Microsoft has signaled it is preparing to open its headquarters at the end of February, a major step in its return to normal.
Like most companies, Microsoft sent its employees home early in the pandemic. As the pandemic continued, the company repeatedly postponed its return-to-office date. The most recent postponement occurred as a result of the Omicron surge. At the time, CEO Satya Nadella warned that companies must be careful “not to be overly dogmatic” with their plans.
According to the company, its Washington offices will reopen on February 28. The sites will be open to employees and guests alike. Employees will have 30 days to adopt the work arrangements they have agreed to with their managers. At the same time, Microsoft is adopting the approach Nadella championed, affording employees the ability to retain the flexibility they have enjoyed working from home.
“Throughout the pandemic, our employees have adapted to many new ways of working while helping our customers and partners navigate their own challenges,” writes Chris Capossela – Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “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. Our approach to hybrid embraces schedule flexibility as standard for most roles and provides employees with the opportunity to determine how and where they work best, while making sure an individual’s plans align to the team agreements set with their manager. 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.”
Excluding a new surge from another variant, Microsoft’s plans are a major step forward. At the same time, Microsoft’s willingness to be work with employees and maintain their flexibility is admirable, and an approach other companies would do well to imitate.