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Microsoft’s U.S. offices will reopen in January 2021 at the earliest

Microsoft has no plans to completely reopen its U.S. offices until at least January 2021. Sources familiar with the company’s plans tell The edge that Microsoft has chosen January 19, 2021 as the earliest possible date for its U.S. offices to be open to 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 clock face will be when offices are ready to completely reopen for employees to return to work. Microsoft’s offices will not return to normal until most of the restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 outbreak have been lifted and health data suggests it is safe to return.

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

  • Phase 1: closed
  • Phase 2: compulsory working from home
  • Phase 3: working from home is strongly encouraged
  • Stage 4: soft opening
  • Phase 5: open with restrictions
  • Phase 6: open

“In the United States, we determined that the earliest possible date for Stage 6 is now January 19, 2021,” said Kurt DelBene, Microsoft’s chief business strategy, in an internal memo by The edge. “Our goal for Stage 6 is to return to normal activities while we are prepared to go back to an earlier stage if a significant resurgence of the virus occurs.”

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

Microsoft originally allowed its employees to work from home as early as March before enforcing mandatory work from home policies as the pandemic spread across Seattle. The company is currently in phase two of its workplace picker, which maintains mandatory home ordering.

Microsoft is not alone in its plans to return to offices until 2021. Google plans 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 will allow employees to work from home until January 2021.