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Microsoft the latest Puget Sound company to bring workers back into offices

A building on the Microsoft Headquarters campus is pictured July 17, 2014 in Redmond, Washington. (Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

In early March, Facebook became the first major tech company to announce its plans to bring Puget Sound employees back into the workplace. Now, Microsoft is following suit, unveiling its plan for a “hybrid workplace” on Monday.

Facebook the first major company to bring Seattle workers back to offices

Microsoft will manage its return of employees in six adjustable stages “rather than specific timelines.” Those stages look like this:

  • Stage 1: Fully closed
  • Stage 2: Mandatory work from home
  • Stage 3: Work from home strongly encouraged
  • Stage 4: Soft open
  • Stage 5: Open with restrictions
  • Stage 6: Fully open

The company is currently in Stage 3, but plans to move into the “soft open” stage for its Redmond campus on March 29. At that point, “limited or augmented options” will be offered for those working on-site, but employees will still be “encouraged to work remotely” until Stage 6.

When employees do return, workspaces will be appropriately distanced, face coverings will be required, and “extensive cleaning procedures” will take place regularly.

“While vaccination rates continue to rise and are critical to easing the disease burden in our communities, the current rates do not lessen our on-site precautions or expectations at most of our work sites,” Microsoft Executive Vice President Kurt DelBene said in a blog post. “We continue to monitor the impact of the vaccine as well as public health guidance to advise on any changes to our workplace, as needed.”

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This comes after Facebook announced that it would be bringing back 10% of its workers in Seattle, Bellevue, and Redmond, sometime in the near future, while continuing to offer the option to voluntarily work from home through July 2 worldwide.

Other tech companies in the Puget Sound region have continued to maintain their own remote work policies, including Amazon, where the option to work full time from home remains in place at least through June 2021.

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