Microsoft’s US offices won’t reopen until January 2021 at the earliest

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Microsoft isn’t planning to fully reopen its US offices until at least January 2021. Sources familiar with the company’s plans tell The Verge that Microsoft has selected January 19th, 2021, as the earliest possible date for its US offices to be open for employees. The software giant is currently planning a “hybrid workplace” for a phased reopening of its offices, and Microsoft has produced a six-stage dial that illustrates the return to normal for employees.

Stage six of the dial will be when offices are ready to fully reopen for employees to return to work. Microsoft’s offices will return to normal operations only when most restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 outbreak have been lifted and health data suggests it’s safe to return.

These are the six stages of Microsoft’s workplace dial:

  • 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
  • Stage 6: open

“In the United States, we have established that the earliest possible date for Stage 6 is now January 19, 2021,” according to Kurt DelBene, Microsoft’s head of corporate strategy, in an internal memo seen by The Verge. “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.”

We understand Microsoft will adjust and move the January 2021 date back as needed in response to the ongoing pandemic.

Microsoft originally allowed its employees to work from home back in March before enforcing a mandatory work from home policy as the pandemic spread across Seattle. The company is currently in stage two of its workplace dial, which maintains the mandatory work from home order.

Microsoft isn’t alone in its plans to not return to offices until 2021. Google is planning to keep its employees working remotely until July 2021, and Apple employees won’t be returning to offices until early next year. Facebook employees are also allowed to work remotely until the end of 2020, and Amazon is letting employees work from home until January 2021.

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