Houston: Seattle-based technology giant Microsoft has decided to expand its work-from-home policy and make it permanent for some workers.
The company has released the new "hybrid workplace" guidance that lays out how employees can have a more flexible remote work schedule and even relocate elsewhere in the country, while it continues to adjust to changing needs during the ongoing pandemic.
Microsoft will allow employees to work from home freely for less than 50 per cent of their working week, and managers will be able to approve permanent remote work.
"We will offer as much flexibility as possible to support individual work styles, while balancing business needs, and ensuring we live our culture," Kathleen Hogan, Microsoft's chief people officer, said in a post on the official Microsoft Blog.
"To address this, we have provided guidance to employees to make informed decisions around scenarios that could include changes to their worksite, work location, and/or work hours once offices are open without any COVID-19 restrictions."
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said he is focused on three major considerations of how the nature of work is changing amid the pandemic: how collaboration happens, how learning happens inside companies and how to ensure employees aren't burning out.
The company also said that most employees' work schedules were also flexible, meaning start and end times for workdays were no longer standard.
Employees can move across country for remote work, but compensation and benefits will vary depending on the the company's own geopay scale. Those who move will need to cover their own relocation expenses. Microsoft will cover home office expenses for permanent remote workers.
Flexible working hours will be available without manager approval, the company stressed, adding that some roles still require access to Microsoft offices, hardware, data centres and in-person training.
"Flexibility can mean different things to each of us and we recognize there is no one-size-fits-all solution given the variety of roles, work requirements and business needs we have at Microsoft," Hogan said.
Microsoft was one of the first companies to shift its tech workforce remotely when the coronavirus pandemic hit in March. Other tech giants such as Twitter and Zillow have said they will allow employees to work from home indefinitely.