Microsoft announced on Friday that it is giving more of its employees the option of working from home on a permanent basis. The tech giant is not the first company to do this in the light of the prevailing COVID-19 situation in the country, Twitter and Square among others have also done the same.

Microsoft Agrees to Let Its Employees Work from Home Permanently

Although most of Microsoft’s employees have been working from home since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, the company said it is allowing them more freedom to do so when its offices reopen in January 2021. Employees can work from home less than 50% of their workweek, or with manager approval work from home permanently.

In a company-wide memo, the company said it was giving employees more flexibility to chose their work options next year, Fox Business reports.

Termed the “hybrid workplace” guidance, the company’s new flexible working plans will be incorporated in the future. The policy allows team managers to approve permanent remote work. If approved, employees can even move overseas to carry out their remote work. Employees who agree to take up that option will also give up their physical workspace in the office. However, they would be able to use makeshift office spaces in the future if they eventually return to the office one day or plan an emergency touchdown.

Microsoft’s Chief People Officer Kathleen Hogan disclosed that “we will offer as much flexibility as possible to support individual work styles while balancing business needs, and ensuring we live our culture.”

On the other hand, Microsoft recognizes that some job roles will be difficult or outright impossible to perform from home permanently. While the company expects most of its over 150,000 employees to take advantage of this new offer, the company listed some job roles that will require employees to be physically present in its offices. These are positions that require access to hardware labs, data centers, and in-person training.

While Microsoft is allowing its employees to choose their work styles, salaries and compensations will also change depending on the company’s guidelines for compensations according to the location that they choose to move to. The company also said that it will cover home office expenses incurred by remote workers, and any worker planning on towing that route will have to cover their relocation costs.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has forced companies to consider remote work for its employees. Twitter and Square were one of the first notable companies to consider remote work options for their employees permanently. Facebook also predicted that going forward, about 50% of its employees will be able to work from home on a permanent basis within five to ten years.