The philosophy and practice of our hybrid workplace
In the midst of numerous and difficult circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve made important observations about the future of work, and how and where our employees know they work best. What we’re learning and understanding has led us to use this period in time to grow and evolve our hybrid workplace, building additional capabilities to help our employees, customers and businesses continue to thrive.
As of today, after over a year in which most Microsoft employees have worked remotely, several of our work sites around the globe have reached a stage that meets or exceeds government requirements to accommodate more workers, while many other employees will continue to work remotely. Currently, Microsoft work sites in 21 countries have been able to accommodate additional workers in our facilities – representing around 20% of our global employee population.
As some employees return to our global work sites and others prefer or need to work remotely, we are finding additional ways of putting our hybrid workplace into practice.
The road to our evolved hybrid workplace
We soon discovered that we needed to develop a return-to-work site strategy that could account for constantly changing public health conditions and government guidance in order to keep our employees and communities safe.
With this in mind, we developed a Hybrid Workplace Dial that anchors to six defined stages – rather than specific timelines – and allows us to quickly adjust our work sites depending on health conditions, while also staying data-driven in our decision-making. The dial helps us assign a stage to each of our work sites depending on the current local health data and government guidance. The dial can go in both directions – moving a work site forward when local disease burden improves, and also dialing back when we observe declines in progress. Each stage is defined by a set of data-driven criteria (e.g. trends in cases and deaths and government guidelines) as well as site readiness assessments, and carries with it a set of prescribed policies and actions.
Work site changes to keep employees safe
Since most of us started working off-site last year, our teams have implemented a variety of health and safety measures to ensure we’re meeting, and in many cases, exceeding requirements set by local public health officials.
While vaccination rates continue to rise and are critical to easing the disease burden in our communities, the current rates do not lessen our on-site precautions or expectations at most of our work sites. We continue to monitor the impact of the vaccine as well as public health guidance to advise on any changes to our workplace, as needed.
Moving forward in a hybrid, modern workplace
Looking ahead, we know that hybrid work requires a new operating model and strategy that encompasses flexible work policy, inclusive space design and innovative technology solutions. The modern workplace requires companies to meet new employee expectations, connect a more distributed workforce, and provide tools to create, innovate and work together to solve business problems. As a way to share workplace insights observed in the past year and what we can expect in the future, earlier today we released the 2021 Work Trend Index which includes new data, deep research and expert insights leaders should consider as the era of hybrid work unfolds.
Mar 22, 2021 at 16:13