Microsoft has fashioned itself as an expert on the future of work and the office, releasing several comprehensive reports since the pandemic started. But, despite its expertise, the big tech company is having trouble getting its employees back into the office. The company began requiring employees to be in the office at least 50 percent of the time on April 4th, but it has admitted it probably won’t reach its goals for another 6 to 9 months (or early 2023).
The tech giant, known for being obsessed with research and data measurements, released a massive report last fall saying collaboration and productivity have suffered with remote work, but many of its workers don’t seem to buy it. “Workers are not the same people they were two and half years ago,” said Jared Spataro, Microsoft’s corporate VP of modern work. “They don’t buy the argument that they can’t have flexibility.” Microsoft’s report found that 80 percent of workers want hybrid or remote work, and some employees are willing to sacrifice more than $4,300 a year in salary for full-time remote work.
Unlike some other companies, Microsoft has taken a cautious approach on return to the office, perhaps fearing a more top-down ultimatum would lead to it losing employees to more flexible companies. They announced that they will not be renewing the lease for a 585,00 square foot office in Bellevue, Washington, that’s expiring in 2023. I guess when it comes to how much office is the right amount, even the largest public company in the world is still figuring it out.