Microsoft, Facebook To Reopen Some US Offices

Microsoft and Facebook have announced the beginnings of a limited reopening of their US offices after a year of closures due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Microsoft announced last week that from 29 March, it will allow staff who work at its Redmond sites and nearby campuses, Staff can choose between returning to work full time, continuing to work remotely, or implementing a hybrid model.

Last October Microsoft had told staff it would allow more flexibility to work from home, even after it was safe to return to the office. Microsoft staff can also ask their managers if they want to work remotely full time, or to potentially move to a new location.

Office reopening

Meanwhile Facebook this week confirmed to CNBC that it will reopen its Bay Area offices (in San Francisco) for some employees in May.

The limited reopening will see Facebook’s Bay Area office, which includes its Menlo Park, California, headquarters, open at 10 percent capacity in May, as long as health data continues to improve, the company reportedly said.

Facebook had initially told staff they could work from home until 2 July, but now they’ll be able to continue working remotely until one month after their office reaches 50 percent capacity, Facebook reportedly said.

The company expects its largest offices won’t reach 50 percent capacity until early September.

Facebook spokesperson Tracy Clayton told CNBC in a statement that the company is taking a “measured approach” to reopening offices.

Physical distancing and mask-wearing are required at all times in offices and, at some sites, weekly testing will be required.

Other tech firms

Last May, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he predicts that 50 percent of the company’s employees could be working remotely over the next decade.

Facebook of course has allowed some employees to work remotely full time and relocate, but those employees may have their compensation adjusted based on their new locations, Zuckerberg said.

This gives some staff the option to relocate to US states where the cost of housing is more reasonable than it is California.

Google like other firms, had ordered all of its North American staff to work from home until if their jobs permitted it, at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Then it said it would allow its staff to work from home if they want, until at least July 2021.

In May 2020 Twitter and Square said their respective staff could opt to work from home ‘forever’ if they want, or return or the office, post Coronavirus lockdown.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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