Microsoft opting for a more flexible workplace, new guidelines
Microsoft is allowing more of its employees to work from home permanently, the company announced on Friday. While the vast majority of Microsoft employees are still working from home during the ongoing pandemic, the software maker has unveiled “hybrid workplace” guidance internally to allow for far greater flexibility once US offices eventually reopen.
Writing on companies blog Kathleen Hogan – Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer said, “Over the past few months, we have learned so much about productivity, flexibility, resilience, and compassion. We have been working in ways we never thought possible, including managing necessary safety precautions, learning to connect with small or large teams while presenting to a screen, taking care of family and friends while being in the next room on calls, adjusting hours to address new demands and so much more. And I am deeply empathetic that this is on top of navigating the emotional toll of all that we are witnessing and experiencing.”
“At the same time, the pandemic has raised questions about what our employees can expect in the future, so we provided some guidance this week to employees on our thinking about work flexibility. Moving forward, it is our goal to offer as much flexibility as possible to support individual work styles, while balancing business needs and ensuring we live our culture.”, Hogan said
“Flexibility can mean different things to each of us, and we recognize there is no one-size-fits-all solution given the variety of roles, work requirements, and business needs we have at Microsoft. To address this, we have provided guidance to employees to make informed decisions around scenarios that could include changes to their worksite, work location, and/or work hours once offices are open without any COVID-19 restrictions.”, Hogan said
She further said, “Our Step-by-step guidance includes considerations like office space, salary and benefits, local law, personal taxes, expenses, and more.”
- Work site (the physical space where you work, e.g. office, center, home, mobile): We recognize that some employees are required to be onsite and some roles and businesses are better suited for working away from the worksite than others. However, for most roles, we view working from home part of the time (less than 50%) as now standard – assuming manager and team alignment.
- Work hours (the hours and days when employees work, e.g. workday start and end times, full- or part-time): Work schedule flexibility is now considered standard for most roles. While part-time continues to be subject to manager approval, our guidance is meant to facilitate an open conversation between a manager and employee regarding considerations.
- Work location (the geographic location where you work, e.g. city and country): Similarly the guidance is there for managers and employees to discuss and address considerations such as role requirements, personal tax, salary, expenses, etc.
Hogan said, “Our guidance is to help employees plan ahead for the future. For now, returning to many of our offices around the world is still optional for employees, except for essential onsite roles. While we’ve shared that we will challenge long-held assumptions and seek to be on the forefront of what is possible leveraging technology, we have also communicated that we are not committing to having every employee work from anywhere, as we believe there is value in employees being together in the workplace.”
According to the blog, Microsoft managers will also be empowered to approve full-time remote work for staff members—and employees can now seek approval to relocate domestically, as well. And for employees that are approved to relocate domestically, their compensation may change based on Microsoft’s “geopay scale.”