Coronavirus strikes again in altering the way the world functions. Microsoft Corporation has recently made an industry-changing announcement that the company will allow workers to continue working from home even after the pandemic if they choose to do so. Following a “hybrid model,” the major tech firm plans to implement the option for employees to return to the office or work from home in response to the change in the environment that the COVID-19 virus has caused.
In addition to the hybrid model, Microsoft’s 150,000 employees would have the choice to relocate entirely, or even internationally, if approved by management. The company would also help cover work from home expenses for permanent remote workers, and workers’ salaries would be adjusted based on their geographic location. According to Kathleen Hogan, Chief People Officer at Microsoft, “the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged all of us to think, live, and work in new ways.” She expanded that to conduct a smoother transition into this new allowance; she has created “a step-by-step guide on the new hybrid model that Microsoft will adapt in accordance with different scenarios.”
Employees will also have the flexibility of working remotely for 50% less of their normal workweek; however, they could still work at 100% full capacity workweek hours if approved by their manager. These changes in working hours correlate to a study that Microsoft has conducted and published in the Harvard Business Review in early summer concerning the remote work habits of their employees.
According to the study findings, workers spend 10% more time in meetings each week due to shorter meetings and fewer longer ones. Furthermore, employees were working through their lunch breaks and later in the evenings. A staggering 52% increase in instant messages between 6 PM to midnight was captured, as well as “three times the growth of employees working on weekends.” As a result, Microsoft members were working longer and increasingly fluid hours, producing more burnout.
Nonetheless, Microsoft was not the only company to implement the allowance of work from home standards following post-pandemic. Twitter, Facebook, and Square have announced that workers can continue to work remotely even after the pandemic. Unlike Microsoft, however, Twitter is focusing on more permanent work from home implementation.
As more high cap companies follow the trend of work from home allowance after the COVID-19 era, it paints the question of what the future of work will look like for the years to come. According to researchers, transportation rates will most likely decrease as there will be less commuting to-and-from work, which could lead to a decrease in the use of the crude oil commodity if more work from home settings will be adopted in the future. Likewise, retail spending is likely to witness a boost in predicted expenditure on home improvement, as seen in previous quarters.
Microsoft also realizes that it might not be possible for all jobs to be performed remotely, as they emphasize the value of in-person community in the workplace. Hogan states, “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.” Additionally, a Microsoft spokesperson has state, “our goal is to evolve the way we work overtime with intention – guided by employee output, data and our commitment to support individual work styles and business needs while living our culture.”
In reflection of their public announcements, it is evident that Microsoft is experimenting with newfound possibilities to enhance employee productivity in the future: a movement that could potentially revolutionize the future of work.
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