Updated below with information on Expedia reopening.
One of the longest “three weeks” in history will soon come to an end.
Nearly two years after asking its employees to work from home in what was hoped might be a temporary precaution, Microsoft is fully reopening its Washington state facilities — including its Redmond headquarters — effective Feb. 28, the company told employees this morning.
“From this date, employees will have 30 days to make adjustments to their routines and adopt the working preferences they’ve agreed upon with their managers,” wrote Chris Capossela, Microsoft’s chief marketing officer, in a post this morning announcing the news.
He added, “Reaching this stage allows us to fully open our facilities to employees, visitors and guests. All campus services will return, including the Connector ride-share option for employees in the Puget Sound area.”
With the announcement, the company is moving into the sixth and final stage of its hybrid workplace policy, as shown in this previously released graphic.
Capossela cited the high rates of COVID-19 vaccination in King County, plus declining hospitalizations and deaths in the state, as well as available local testing capacity to comply with government guidelines.
Microsoft and other big tech companies often serve as bellwethers for others in setting these policies, and Capossela wrote that Microsoft is “pleased to be joining other area businesses welcoming back more employees in the coming weeks.”
It’s the latest sign of companies relaxing restrictions as the Omicron variant of COVID-19 begins to wane in many regions of the country. Amazon last week said vaccinated employees would be able to stop wearing masks.
Also this morning, Seattle-based online travel giant Expedia Group said it will implement its hybrid work policy beginning April 4.
Currently, the company’s offices are open to vaccinated employees on a voluntary basis. With the updated policy, the company says its expectation is that “employees will spend at least 50% of their time in the office, working with their respective leaders on an appropriate schedule.”
Employees will still need to be fully vaccinated to work in the office, Expedia says.