Feb. 15, 2022 -- Microsoft says it will reopen offices in Washington state and California by the end of the month as COVID-19 cases continue to decline.

The company’s headquarters in Redmond, WA, and its Bay Area sites, including a new Silicon Valley campus, will fully reopen to employees, visitors, and guests on Feb. 28, according to an announcement posted Monday. Other locations across the U.S. will “follow suit as conditions allow,” the company said.

Microsoft has been operating under a phased return-to-work plan. The latest announcement marks the sixth and final phase.

“For nearly two years, our hybrid workplace model has anchored each of our work sites to one of six defined stages, allowing us to quickly adjust our guidance depending on health data, local government guidance, the availability of vaccines and vaccination rates and other considerations,” Chris Capossela, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Microsoft, said in the announcement.

Based on recent data, the company has decided to reopen the offices. About 84% of King County residents -- where most of Microsoft’s Washington employees live -- have been fully vaccinated. About 92% have received at least one vaccine dose.

“These high vaccination rates, along with declining hospitalizations and deaths in the state, are part of what enables us to move to this stage of our hybrid work journey,” Capossela said.

Microsoft will still allow some leeway for workers, and not all employees will return to the office full time. Employees can ask their managers to approve requests to adjust their work site, location, or hours.

“We know there’s not a singular solution to how people work best, which is why we believe flexibility should be at the forefront of our evolving hybrid workplace,” Capossela said.

Earlier, Microsoft announced that it would allow most employees to return to on-site locations in October 2021. But in September, the company delayed the plan indefinitely when new COVID-19 variants emerged, according to CNBC. At the time, Amazon, Facebook, and Google also announced that workers would likely return to U.S. offices in 2022.

Show Sources

Microsoft: “The next chapter of our hybrid workplace: update on our Washington state work sites.”

Public Health for Seattle & King County: “COVID-19 Vaccination Summary for King County, WA.”

CNBC: “Microsoft indefinitely postpones return to U.S. offices as Covid cases surge.”

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