We reported in May that Microsoft was recommending their employees work from home until at least October 2020.

Since then the COVID-19 pandemic has shown little sign of abating, with new record highs for new infections.

Now the Verge reports that Microsoft has pushed back the date for return to the office till at least 19th January 2021.

Microsoft has a 6-phase plan for return to office, and plan to only fully return when most restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 outbreak have been lifted and health data suggests it’s safe to return.

The 6 stages are:

Stage 1: closed
Stage 2: mandatory working from home
Stage 3: working from home strongly encouraged
Stage 4: soft opening
Stage 5: open with restrictions
Stage 6: open

Microsoft is currently at Stage 2 – Mandatory Work from Home, and has been there since March this year.

“In the United States, we have established that the earliest possible date for Stage 6 is now January 19, 2021,” according to Kurt DelBene, Microsoft’s head of corporate strategy. “Our goal for Stage 6 is to return to normal operations while being prepared to back off to an earlier stage, if a significant resurgence in the virus occurs.”

Microsoft’s policy matches current policies of other tech giants, with Facebook expecting their employees to work from home until the end if 2020, Amazon until January 2021 and Google all the way back to July 2021.

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