San Francisco: Microsoft on Monday announced to slowly reopen its Redmond, Washington-based headquarters and nearby campuses from March 29 with a six-stage hybrid workplace strategy.
The company said that while stages 4 and 5 offer limited or augmented options for workers who choose to be on-site, employees are encouraged to work remotely while their site remains in stages 1-5 and should not feel they need to return.
“In stage 6, Covid-19 is no longer a significant burden on the local community and presents itself more like an endemic virus such as the seasonal flu. In this final stage of the dial, most pandemic-specific work site requirements and prevention measures are removed, enabling nearly all campus services to return,” Kurt DelBene, Executive Vice President, Microsoft, said in a statement.
In the case of the Redmond-based headquarters, the shift planned for March 29 will represent a move on the dial from Stage 3 to Stage 4.
The company said that the hybrid workplace strategy can go in both directions – moving a work site forward when local disease burden improves, and also dialing back when we observe declines in progress.
“Each stage is defined by a set of data-driven criteria (trends in cases and deaths and government guidelines) as well as site readiness assessments, and carries with it a set of prescribed policies and actions,” Microsoft said.
Currently, Microsoft work sites in 21 countries have been able to accommodate additional workers in its facilities – representing around 20 per cent of its global employee population.
Microsoft has over 160,000-strong global workforce.
“At each of our campuses that are in Stages 1-5, we are taking a cautious approach that includes social distancing of workspaces, face coverings, extensive cleaning procedures, daily health attestations, attendance strategies and more,” the company said.
The company has pulled together a group of Microsoft researchers, engineers and real estate and facilities experts to prototype hybrid meeting spaces at its Redmond, Washington, and the UK.