Microsoft released a “hybrid workplace” plan outlining its new work policy once the pandemic is over all over the world and people can choose to continue to work from home.
In a blog post on the site, Microsoft explained that it will now allow employees to work from home for less than 50 percent of their working hours, or for managers to approve permanent remote work.
The company will cover the expenses of setting up a permanent home office. If employees want to relocate to a place of their choice then it will be allowed though pay scale, benefits will be reworked and the company will not pay for the relocation costs.
Hybrid Remote Work
In the blog post, Kathleen Hogan, Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer wrote how everyone has had to adjust to the new reality of connecting over the net with one’s teams, adjusting to working around a family schedule and more.
“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 workstyles, while balancing business needs and ensuring we live our culture,” Hogan wrote.
The set of guideline includes:
- Work site: There are some roles that require an onsite presence, however, for most roles, working from home part of the time (less than 50%) will be 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, the 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 this guidance is there for managers and employees to discuss and address considerations such as role requirements, personal tax, salary, expenses, etc.
Permanent ‘Work from Home’ Option
This will help the employees to plan ahead in the future. For now, returning to offices around the world is still optional for employees, except for essential onsite roles.
The blog makes it clear that the company is not committing to having every employee work from anywhere, though the policy will evolve and become more flexible over time.
Microsoft had earlier notified its employees that the US offices will not be opening until January 2021. Employees have been working from home in Microsoft since March and a mandatory policy of work from home was enforced as the virus spread rapidly. The pandemic has thrown up new options of how companies can save on office space and rentals by shifting many roles to work from home. The advancement in technologies allow for such flexibility.
As put forward by Microsoft, a hybrid workplace model can be worked out of people meeting once a month or weekly depending on the team. A flexible schedule of putting in some hours in the office can be worked out.
According to a survey by SHRM, 64% of US employees are working from home now. A recent Gallup survey put the number at 62%. The same survey says three in five (59%) of U.S. employees, who have been working from home due to the pandemic would prefer to continue to work remotely as much as possible, once public health restrictions are lifted.
But 41% would prefer to return to their workplace or office to work, as they did before the crisis. A getAbstract survey said 43% of remote workers would prefer to continue their work from home schedule as it gives them flexibility, prevents commute and is overall more productive.