Microsoft, as of the end of June, employed 163,000 people; 96,000 of them in the United States Credit: Twitter

Software giant Microsoft will let employees work from home permanently if they choose to, becoming the latest employer to expand work-from-home provisions prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Most Microsoft employees are still at home as the health crisis drags on, and the company doesn’t expect to reopen its US offices until January of next year at the earliest. But when it does, workers can chose to work from their residences permanently, although in that case they will have to give up their office space.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has challenged all of us to think, live and work in new ways,” Microsoft’s chief people officer Kathleen Hogan said in a note to employees.

“We will offer as much flexibility as possible to support individual workstyles, while balancing business needs and ensuring we live our culture.”

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In a statement, a Microsoft spokesperson said, “Our goal is to evolve the way we work over time with intention — guided by employee input, data and our commitment to support individual workstyles and business needs while living our culture.”

Some employees won’t be eligible for remote-work arrangements, such as those who work in Microsoft’s labs or train other employees.

In its memo, the company said it is possible for its workers to relocate across the US or perhaps overseas. Those that relocate may see their salaries change depending on where they go, and while the company will cover expenses for employees’ home offices, it won’t cover relocation expenses.

Microsoft, as of the end of June, employed 163,000 people; 96,000 of them in the US.

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