January 2021 is the earliest Microsoft’s US offices will fully reopen

Rabia Noureen

Microsoft has informed its employees that it won’t fully reopen its offices until January 2021, delaying a return to the office originally slated for October this year. According to an internal memo spotted by The Verge, the earliest possible date for opening workplaces without restrictions is January 19, 2021, and the company is currently planning a six-staged “hybrid” approach for employees returning to offices.

Microsoft has listed the following stages in the six-phase reopening plan of its offices: Stage 1: Closed; Stage 2: Mandatory working from home; Stage 3: Working from home strongly encouraged; Stage 4: Soft opening; Stage 5: Open with restrictions and finally, Stage 6: Open. Kurt DelBene, Head of corporate strategy at Microsoft confirmed that stage six will only be reached when the US government will lift COVID-19 related social distancing restrictions.

“In the US, we have established that the earliest possible date for Stage 6 is now January 19, 2021,” DelBene explained in the memo. “Our goal for Stage 6 is to return to normal operations while being prepared to back off to an earlier stage if a significant resurgence in the virus occurs.”

Microsoft first began to allow its employees to work from home back in March this year in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are around 85,000 Microsoft employees working within the United States, and another 59,000 people working around the world, and Microsoft has not confirmed yet if the updated policy applies to employees working in other countries as well. We’ll keep you posted.