Microsoft joins the chorus of tech companies pushing the reopening of their offices at the end of 2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic potentially ends. The edge possesses confirmed a Business intern report that Microsoft has delayed its full reopening from July to at least September 7. The move is a response to “ongoing consultation with health and data experts,” a spokesperson said.
In an email to staff, Executive Vice President Kurt DelBene said the delay gave “extra flexibility” to staff planning for the summer. He added that local office officials were also free to institute new deadlines if the situation in their area made return too risky.
The technology pioneer is currently in a “soft open” phase where a limited number of employees can return to work in person. About 20% of Microsoft’s global employees were back in the office in March, including its Redmond and Seattle offices.
The delay recognizes the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic. While vaccinations are rising rapidly and could make working in the office safer, it is not clear whether enough people will be protected by July – and the rise of faster-spreading virus variants complicates matters. As it stands, Microsoft has already said it could let most people Work at home until half of the week. There is simply less pressure to reopen than in the past.