Microsoft to allow employees work from home permanently

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But when it does, workers can chose to work from home permanently with their manager's approval, although they will have to give up their office space.

Employees whose roles allow it will now get to work from home for less than 50 percent of the week, as part of Microsoft's hybrid workplace model, as first reported by The Verge and later confirmed by Microsoft on Friday.

A Willis Towers Watson survey of U.S. employers in May found that they expected 22% of staff to continue working from home after the pandemic, up from just 7% in 2019.

"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", Ms. Hogan said.

While Microsoft's not the first major tech player to let its employees turn their homes into their forever-offices - Twitter first gave its employees that option back in mid-May - it's still an idea that some tech CEO's are a bit bristly about.

Hogan stressed the guidance is not carte blanche for employees on work arrangements and the company still sees value in employees interacting in the workplace.

The company will cover the expenses of setting up a permanent home office. But many staff will also be able to work from home part-time, without needing formal approval from their managers. However, job benefits and compensation will be varying in accordance with the company's geopay scale.

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Also, employees will be allowed to freely WFH, for less than 50% of their working week.

As of April, more than 46% of those employed were doing some work from home, according to the Office of National Statistics.

"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.

The company also said that most employees' work schedules were also flexible, meaning start and end times for workdays were no longer standard.

The move to make work from home permanent isn't without precedent.

Pre-pandemic, the majority of Americans worked in an office or from home. We have been working in ways we never thought possible, including managing necessary safety precautions, learning to connect with small or large teams while presenting to a screen, taking care of family and friends while being in the next room on calls, adjusting hours to address new demands and so much more. Moreover, fully remote employees will have to relinquish their assigned office space, though they will still have access to common areas at Microsoft locations.

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