Facebook, Microsoft and Uber have announced plans to reopen offices on a limited basis, as the spread of the coronavirus pandemic continues to slow.
Microsoft and Uber say their headquarters in Redmond, Wash., and San Francisco respectively will welcome employees on March 29.
The software giant has already begun to accommodate some additional workers in offices around the globe at its 21 locations and reopening offices in the Northwest by taking a hybrid approach is the next step, the company said in a statement.
"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.
Uber is moving up a back-to-the-office plan from Sept. 13 to next Monday, the company said in an emailed statement, stressing that it is on a voluntary basis. In line with local guidelines, the ride-share company said only up 20% of employees can opt to work from the office.
Meanwhile, Facebook said that if COVID-19 numbers in Menlo Park, Calif., the home of its headquarters, continues to decline, up to 10% of its workforce can go back to the office on May 10. Similarly, offices in Fremont and Sunnyvale can open a little later — May 17 and May 24, respectively. And the San Francisco office is slated to open its doors on June 7.
All three companies say they intend to abide by all local health protocols and safety guidelines that have been developed in coordination with experts.
Uber added, "Employees returning to the workplace need to take a virtual training, sign a COVID-19 Precautions & Acknowledgement form, and take a daily health screening (including temperature check) at home to qualify for return."
A sprawling study by Microsoft on the impact of forced work-from-home policies due to the coronavirus pandemic revealed that "flexible work is here to stay" and that employers who want to retain talented employees should accept the idea of hybrid work even after the current health crisis.
The report, titled "The Next Great Disruption Is Hybrid Work — Are We Ready?" advises business leaders to accept that "the past year has fundamentally changed the nature of work.
Among its findings:
When surveyed, 73% of workers said they want flexible remote options. The study also found remote job postings on LinkedIn increased more than five times during the pandemic.
But people are also working a lot more and having a hard time, the report says. Around the world, people are spending more than twice as much time in meetings and "over 40 billion more emails were delivered in February of this year compared with last." People are also crying with the coworkers a lot more. One is six report having cried with a colleague in the past year.