Microsoft nixes Oct. 4 return to office in latest rollback from COVID-19 Delta variant

Microsoft’s Executive Briefing Center in Redmond. (GeekWire File Photo / Todd Bishop)

Microsoft says it no longer considers early October a realistic timeframe for fully opening its U.S. offices, and it won’t be predicting a new date at this point.

It’s the latest sign of the impact of the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant. The company had previously pushed back the reopening from September to no earlier than Oct. 4.

“Given the uncertainty of COVID-19, we’ve decided against attempting to forecast a new date for a full reopening of our U.S. worksites in favor of opening U.S. worksites as soon as we’re able to do so safely based on public health guidance,” said Jared Spataro, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for modern work, in a blog post Thursday morning.

Once the company has a new timeframe, Spataro added, it will announce a 30-day transition period “that provides time for employees to prepare while allowing us to continue to be agile and flexible as we look to the data and make choices to protect employee health, safety and well-being.”

That open-ended approach with the promise of advance warning is similar to the strategy being used by Redfin and other companies.

Companies including Amazon and Expedia have pushed their returns to the office back to January 2022.

The announcement comes as Microsoft releases new research about the impact of remote work on its workforce, and announces new technologies designed to help other companies improve collaboration and communication for remote workers and hybrid workplaces.

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Microsoft Covid-19 Delta