Microsoft has moved to give most of its workforce more flexibility in how it works, releasing new guidance aimed at accommodating remote work trends on an ongoing basis.
The guidance, prompted by the changes to work for many employees due to the disruptions caused by COVID-19, said that for most roles, Microsoft will now view working from home part of the time — specifically, less than 50 per cent — as now standard, assuming manager and team alignment.
“We recognise that some employees are required to be onsite and some roles and businesses are better suited for working away from the worksite than others,” Microsoft executive vice president and chief people officer Kathleen Hogan said in a blog post on 9 October.
Moreover, Hogan said that, in terms of work hours, work schedule flexibility is now considered standard for most roles.
“While part-time continues to be subject to manager approval, our guidance is meant to facilitate an open conversation between a manager and employee regarding considerations,” she said.
Work location was also covered in the guidance, with Hogan saying that the guidance would be there for managers and employees to discuss and address considerations such as role requirements, personal tax, salary and expenses in relation to where they work.
“Our guidance is to help employees plan ahead for the future,” she said. “For now, returning to many of our offices around the world is still optional for employees, except for essential onsite roles.
“While we’ve shared that we will challenge long-held assumptions and seek to be on the forefront of what is possible leveraging technology, we have also communicated that we are not committing to having every employee work from anywhere, as we believe there is value in employees being together in the workplace,” Hogan added.
According to Hogan, the guidance was released to help employees make informed decisions around scenarios that could include changes to their work site, work location or work hours once offices are open without any COVID-19 restrictions.
“Flexibility can mean different things to each of us, and we recognise there is no one-size-fits-all solution given the variety of roles, work requirements and business needs we have at Microsoft,” she said. “Moving forward, it is our goal to offer as much flexibility as possible to support individual work styles, while balancing business needs and ensuring we live our culture.”
While the new guidance already opens the doors to more flexibility for most Microsoft workers, the company plans to continue to evolve its approach to flexibility over time as it “learns more”.