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Microsoft to Ease Workers Back to the Office Starting Next Week


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A seating area in the main atrium of a remodeled Microsoft office in Redmond, WA, in 2017.

Microsoft announced that it would begin allowing more workers back into its headquarters in Redmond, WA, starting on Monday, March 29, while also acknowledging that work life may never be the same.

Credit: Stuart Isett/The New York Times

Microsoft has joined other corporate giants in assessing the best way to bring workers back to the office, a year after the pandemic sent home employees, who had to learn how to be productive on video conference calls while juggling interruptions from families, pets and the doorbell.

The tech giant announced Monday that it would begin allowing more workers back into its headquarters in Redmond, Wash., starting on next Monday, while also acknowledging that work life may never be the same.

In this stage of reopening, which Microsoft described as Step 4 in a six-step "dial," the Redmond campus will give some 57,000 nonessential employees the choice to work from the office, home or a combination of both. Microsoft will also continue to require employees to wear masks and maintain social distancing.

Microsoft plans to open its office without restrictions only once the virus acts "more like an endemic virus such as the seasonal flu," Kurt DelBene, an executive vice president, wrote on the company blog. But even then, office life for Microsoft's 160,000 employees is not likely to look like what it did before the pandemic.

From The New York Times
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