Microsoft, Uber and Facebook map partial return to office
by Paul Davenport Paul Davenport on

As vaccine distribution increases and enterprises plan for a post-covid future, major tech companies are leading the way in establishing the path back to the office, albeit on an incremental and heavily hybrid basis.

Microsoft and Uber reopened their respective headquarters on March 29, with the ladder moving up their previous back-to-office schedule from September 13. While Uber may be accelerating their return to the office, they still are stressing to employees that it’ll be on a fully voluntary basis, and that only up to 20 percent of staff will be allowed to return in March.

Microsoft is also emphasizing in their outreach to employees that any return to their Redmond, Washington, headquarters will be mostly voluntary.

“Our goal is to give employees further flexibility, allowing people to work where they feel most productive and comfortable, while also encouraging employees to work from home as the virus and related variants remain concerning,” Microsoft said in a blog post.

The tech giant had already begun letting some employees return to their 21 global offices in small waves over the past few months, but the majority of Microsoft’s workforce has been remote for close to a year.

Employers granting their workforce the flexibility to work from anywhere that suits them aligns directly with what knowledge workers want in a post-covid world, according to the findings of the 2021 AppNeta Work From Anywhere Outlook. While 19 percent of those polled said they crave returning to the office full time, 81 percent of respondents said they’d like some kind of schedule flexibility that allows them to work outside the office going forward.

While tech companies may be ready to return to the office, a remote work policy will remain in place at many other businesses well beyond the summer. Wells Fargo, for instance, just announced that they’d be aiming to bring employees back into the office in September, as public health officials continue to encourage businesses to practice caution and maintain flexibility in their operations to help prevent another widespread outbreak.

Facebook has been basing their approach to the future of work off of COVID-19 numbers in Menlo Park, California, where the company is located. As long as the infection rates continue to slide and vaccine rates continue to rise, Facebook will allow up to 10 percent of its workforce to return to the office by May 10. From there, Facebook’s three other main offices will open across the Bay Area one-by-one each successive week as long as trends continue to signal it is safe.

Not every business has the same resources and flexibility that a company like Facebook can afford, however, and for many, maintaining a work from anywhere policy for the majority of the workforce is not only the safest bet healthwise, but something that knowledge workers are showing they crave.

But before any business adopts a work from anywhere policy, they need to be sure they’re networks are optimized to actually support the critical apps and workflows remote workers need to successfully perform.

As business leaders strategize what the new normal will look like for their organizations, those adopting work from anywhere will want to set clear expectations for IT support with remote employees. In a work from anywhere environment, employee expectations are high, with nearly half of those surveyed in the 2021 Outlook wanting support from the IT team with critical applications they use, 37% expecting support for internet connectivity issues, 35% expecting support with hardware and one-third expecting IT to support them in learning any new tools provided by the company.


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Filed Under: Industry Insights

Tags: network performance monitoring , network management , Facebook , uber , Microsoft , headquarters , return to office , hybrid work , remote work , work from home , work from anywhere , future of work , network management