Technology

Microsoft gives up predicting when its US offices will fully reopen

Microsoft is shelving its plans to fully reopen its US offices next month. The software giant had planned to reopen its headquarters on October 4th, but the ongoing uncertainty of COVID-19 and the spike in cases has forced the company to delay its back to the office push. Microsoft isn’t providing a new date to employees, though.

“Given the uncertainty of COVID-19, we’ve decided against attempting to forecast a new date for a full reopening of our US work sites in favor of opening US work sites as soon as we’re able to do so safely based on public health guidance,” explains Jared Spataro, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of modern work.

This latest delay follows a number of postponements this year to fully reopen Microsoft’s offices. A limited reopening started in March, with original plans to open fully by July. This got pushed back to September, then October, and it’s now been delayed indefinitely.

“The evolving Delta variant is compelling many of us to adjust plans for reopening worksites,” says Spataro. “It’s a stark reminder that this is the new normal. Our ability to come together will ebb and flow.”

Microsoft’s delayed reopening comes as the company shares more data on hybrid work, and its efforts to modernize Office and Microsoft Teams for this “new normal.” Microsoft-owned LinkedIn is calling this the “Great Reshuffle,” as businesses rethink cultures, company values, and how employees work daily.

According to data from LinkedIn and Glint, 87 percent of people would prefer to stay remote at least half of the time, suggesting that employers will need to adapt to the idea of hybrid work quickly. The Great Reshuffle terminology also works well to describe Microsoft’s predictions in July that “41 percent of the global workforce is likely to consider leaving their current employer within the next year.”