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Microsoft Is Allowing Employees To Work From Home Permanently

Microsoft has decided to allow its employees to permanently work from home, following Sony’s recent decision to allow staff to work remotely until at least May. Although most games industry employees are currently isolating at home during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the company has published “hybrid workplace” guidelines that will afford staff greater flexibility once offices reopen in the United States.

The new guidelines will allow employees to work from home almost 50 percent of the time, while managers may approve permanent remote work. Employees who choose to work permanently from home will surrender their office space, but still be able to use available touchdown space at Microsoft branches.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged all of us to think, live, and work in new ways,” said Kathleen Hogan, Microsoft’s chief people officer, in a memo to employees. “We will offer as much flexibility as possible to support individual workstyles, while balancing business needs, and ensuring we live our culture.”

The company expects that most employees will be able to complete nearly half their work remotely, though some may find it impossible to permanently work from home. Positions that require access to hardware labs, data centers, and in-person training will likely still require employees to work out of the office. Meanwhile, remote staff will be allowed to relocate within the country with approval, or even move internationally if their duties can be carried out remotely.

Employees who choose to relocate will be subject to changes in compensation and benefits based on Microsoft’s geopay scale. The company will cover home office expenses for permanent remote workers but not relocation costs. Flexible working hours won’t necessitate manager approval, though staff can request part-time work hours through their managers.

Microsoft had already notified employees that its US offices wouldn’t reopen until January 2021 at the earliest. In March, the company first allowed staff to work remotely before mandating a work from home policy as the pandemic spread across Seattle and the US.

Microsoft joins other companies that are contemplating allowing employees to permanently work from home. Facebook has announced that it will shift tens of thousands of positions to remote work and plans on allowing up to half of employees to work remotely within five to ten years.

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