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At least 100,000 Microsoft US employees will be unable to return to their offices because of the rise in COVID cases due to the Delta variant.
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) says it will indefinitely postpone its resumption in US offices due to renewed cases of COVID. The leading technology corporation made this announcement on Thursday but did not provide a new resumption date.
Microsoft earlier announced in early August that it would reopen its headquarters in Redmond, Washington, and other US offices on October 4th. In addition, the company previously stated that all returning workers, vendors, and office visitors would first have to be vaccinated. Furthermore, it also made ‘special accommodations’ for certain groups of people who could not receive their vaccinations for specific reasons.
Microsoft’s decision to indefinitely postpone the resumption date will affect over 103,000 employees in the U.S. However, it reflects the cautious stance large technology corporations are taking due to the COVID resurgence. Recently, there has been a rise in hospitalizations and deaths linked to the virus, especially the Delta variant.
In August, rising cases of the Delta variant forced e-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN) to postpone its resumption date. The company has announced that corporate workers in the US and some other countries will only return to offices in January 2022. Like Microsoft, Amazon initially intended for its workforce to resume the week of September 7th of this year. However, only Amazon now has a definite resumption date.
Microsoft corporate vice president, Jared Spataro touched on his company’s recent announcement. In a blog post, he wrote:
“Given the uncertainty of Covid-19, we’ve decided against attempting to forecast a new date for a full reopening of our US work sites in favor of opening US work sites as soon as we’re able to do so safely based on public health guidance.”
Furthermore, Spataro stated that Microsoft would afford its employees a month-long transition period once it is ready to reopen its doors.
Microsoft, Other Leading Tech Offices Taking COVID Resurgence Very Seriously
Two other Big Tech firms, Facebook and Google, also announced their intentions for US resumption in 2022. This means employees would have worked remotely for two years by the time they resume. Facebook released an official statement regarding its proposed resumption date. The company explained:
“Data, not dates, is what drives our approach for returning to the office. Given the recent health data…our teams in the US will not be required to go back to the office until January 2022. We expect this to be the case for some countries outside of the US, as well.”
Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, also gave details of his firm’s resumption date in a blog post. Pichai suggested that the company’s near future might be rough in this regard, but he is “optimistic” about the future.
Many of these large tech firms have alternative measures for conducting in-company meetings. For instance, Microsoft has a communication app that people in remote settings can use for virtual meetings. The company recently announced some enhancements to the app’s features – expected to roll out in 2022.
Microsoft Stock Update
Microsoft stock is currently trading at $297. MSFT is in an overvaluation regime, but seems to still be a good investment. It also has promising long-term growth prospects. Many of the company’s features, including the aforementioned communication app, proved very popular during the lockdown last year. This translated to a relative uptick in MSFT value. In addition, Microsoft shares closed at about $304 in late August after the company announced a hike in Office 365 price. Overall, shares are up 34% for 2021, and over 45% in the past year.