Canadian e-commerce firm Shopify will also allow its employees for work from home forever. However, Microsoft is taking it a notch higher and has laid down guidelines that will allow its employees to work remotely from the comfort of their homes forever. Microsoft's new flexible working plans include employee allowances to work-from-home freely for under 50 percent of the work-week and while some flexible work hours will be available without manager approval, managers will be given the power to approve of more permanent remote options.
The software giant has allowed its employees to work from home permanently if they choose.
Microsoft said staff will be allowed to relocate within the country where they work with approval, or may seek to relocate internationally if remote working is viable from overseas in their role. For those who chose to move internationally, compensation and benefits will change and vary depending on the local company's geopay scale. Some staff will be allowed work from home all of the time, if they get approval from managers.
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The company, however, won't shift entirely to remote work.
The move comes months after the company reportedly notified employees that its United States offices wouldn't reopen until January 2021 at the earliest.
"Our goal is to evolve the way we work over time with intention - guided by employee input, data, and our commitment to support individual work styles and business needs while living our culture", a Microsoft spokesman said.
"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", Kathleen Hogan, Microsoft's EVP and Chief People Officer, writes in a blog post.
Some employees won't be eligible for remote-work arrangements, such as those who work in Microsoft's labs or train other employees.
The number of Americans working from home surged during the pandemic, and many corporate leaders expect that to continue. The company, however, also hinted at the re-location possibility of the employees. Permanent work-from-home employees will receive home office expenses. Moreover, fully remote employees will have to relinquish their assigned office space, though they will still have access to common areas at Microsoft locations.
The company originally planned to begin opening its offices at the beginning of 2021, but those spaces may not ever be filled to capacity again.