Microsoft Allows Employees To "Permanently" Work From Home

One of the most significant changes forced by the virus pandemic has been companies allowing their employees to work from home. A couple of months after Microsoft unveiled its plans to reopen US offices in January 2021, the software maker is now letting some employees work from home on a "permanent" basis, according to The Verge

Microsoft's new internal guidance on remote working, viewed by The Verge, outlines the workplace of the future, or rather the "hybrid workplace," that allows "employees to work from home freely for less than 50 percent of their working week, or for managers to approve permanent remote work." 

The Verge noted some employees "will be able to easily take advantage of the less than 50 percent working from home option," though certain roles within the company might find remote working challenging, or near impossible to transition to remote permanently.

Microsoft said specific roles within the company would require those to return to the company's offices. Those who work in hardware labs, data centers, along with in-person training, will still need access to buildings. 

Under the "hybrid workplace," employees will be allowed to relocate domestically with approval from management. There are options for certain employees, that could allow them to work remote in foreign countries.

"While Microsoft employees will be allowed to move across country for remote work, compensation and benefits will change and vary depending on the company's own geopay scale. Microsoft will be covering home office expenses for permanent remote workers, but any that decide to move away from Microsoft's offices will need to cover their own relocation costs. Flexible working hours will also be available without manager approval, and employees can also request part-time work hours through their managers," The Verge said. 

Earlier this week, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said online meetings could make employees tired and make it difficult to focus. 

"When you are working from home, it sometimes feels like you are sleeping at work," Nadella said. 

Microsoft unveiled a new product that attempts to address this problem, called Together Mode, where participants are on video calls in a virtual space. 

Of course, with Microsoft becoming the latest big tech company to throw support behind a future of "flexible" work, the tech industry is positioning itself to use this as another 'perk' to attract the 'top talent' from America's colleges - while JP Morgan pushes Wall Street to call employees back to the office - regardless of the risks - for fear of diminishing "creative intelligence."