Microsoft delays full reopening of its offices to at least September

It's grappling with the uncertainties of the pandemic.

Sponsored Links

REDMOND ,U.S., Dec. 3, 2019 -- Photo taken on Nov. 14, 2019 shows the Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, the United States. The world will continue to see technological breakthroughs in artificial intelligence ,AI, and their potential application in healthcare and financial services will have a transformative impact on human life, Harry Shum has said. (Photo by Wang Ying/Xinhua via Getty) TO GO WITH Interview: AI breakthroughs potentially to reshape healthcare, finance: Microsoft AI chief (Xinhua/Qin Lang via Getty Images)
Xinhua/Qin Lang via Getty Images

Microsoft is joining the chorus of tech companies pushing their office reopenings to late 2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic potentially winds down. The Verge has confirmed a Business Insider report that Microsoft has delayed its full reopening from July to at least September 7th. The move is a response to "continued consultation with health and data experts," a spokesperson said. 

In an email to staff, executive VP Kurt DelBene said the delay gave "additional flexibility" for staff making plans for the summer. He added that local office managers also had the freedom to institute further delays if the situation in their area made it too risky to return.

The tech pioneer is currently in a "soft open" phase where a limited number of employees can return to in-person work. About 20 percent of global Microsoft employees were back in the office as of March, including at its Redmond and Seattle offices.

The delay acknowledges uncertainty around the pandemic. While vaccinations are ramping up quickly and could make it safer for people to work at the office, it's not clear if enough people will be protected by July — and the rise of faster-spreading virus variants complicates matters. As it stands, Microsoft has already said it might let most people work from home for up to half of the week. There's simply less pressure to reopen than in the past.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Popular on Engadget