Microsoft has told its employees that its offices in Washington state and California will reopen on Feb. 28, with other offices across the U.S. to follow in the near future. However, the tech giant will also give its workers an additional 30 days to readjust their schedules and routines before heading back to their desks.
With its offices reopening, Microsoft is also embracing hybrid work. “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,” Chris Capossela, Microsoft’s chief marketing officer, wrote in a corporate blog posting. “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.”
Microsoft isn’t the only company that’s wrestled with reopening. Amazon and Apple, for example, pushed their respective back-to-office dates into early 2022 in response to the emergence of the Delta and Omicron variants of COVID-19. Despite concerns over infection rates, December survey data from LinkedIn (based on around 5,000 U.S.-based respondents) showed that some 50 percent of employees had returned to working onsite, a slight but significant rise from 40 percent in September 2020; the percentage of those working remotely on a full-time basis declined from 44 percent to 34 percent.
In Dice’s 2021 Technologist Sentiment Report, 85 percent of technologists said they found the prospect of hybrid work anywhere from somewhat to extremely desirable. That rose to 94 percent among younger technologists (i.e., those between 18 and 34 years old), compared to 84 percent of those aged 35 and older. In other words, a hybrid work schedule is something that employees really want—and companies need to keep that in mind if they want to retain talent and keep morale boosted.