Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is giving its employees the flexibility to work remotely more often.
The tech titan is adopting a "hybrid workplace" system that will allow its people to work from home less than half their workweek, and those seeking to do so on a full-time basis are encouraged to speak with their managers.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged all of us to think, live, and work in new ways," Microsoft's Chief People Officer Kathleen Hogan told employees, as reported by The Verge. "We will offer as much flexibility as possible to support individual work styles, while balancing business needs, and ensuring we live our culture."
The company notes that it may not be possible for all jobs to be performed remotely. Those that require access to special tools, such as hardware labs and data centers, may still need to be done at Microsoft's work sites.
However, the company is also giving its employees the option to relocate within the U.S. and even internationally if possible. Their pay, though, will be adjusted based on where they work.
Microsoft will also provide other benefits, such as flexible work schedules and reimbursement for home-office setup expenses.
Microsoft's new policy is certainly due in part to the coronavirus pandemic, which continues to sicken millions of people around the world. Working from home may lead to fewer of its employees contracting COVID-19 than if they congregated in crowded offices.
Yet the benefits of a distributed workforce are likely to be felt long after the pandemic subsides. Microsoft will be able to source talent from areas far beyond its office locations. It will also be able to hire workers who are either unable or unwilling to work in a typical office environment.
In turn, Microsoft's new work-from-home initiatives should help to strengthen its already highly skilled workforce and position it for long-term success in today's shifting employment environment.