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Microsoft CEO warns ‘people will vote with their feet’ when it involves return-to-work policies

5 mins read
"People will vote with their feet,” said Nadella

Major tech companies are rethinking their return-to-work policies because the spread of the Delta variant prompts a surge in Covid-19 cases across the country.

This week, Google (GOOG), Facebook (FB) and other companies took a firm stance on vaccine mandates, requiring all US employees to be vaccinated before returning to the office. But one tech giant, Microsoft, is taking a way less stringent approach — a minimum of for now.
“There are going to be some combination of vaccines, testing, and exceptions thereto ,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, during CNN Business’ live event series, Foreseeable Future, Thursday. “If you think that about the policies that one must have, it’s to accommodate the simplest practices of all three.”
So far, 49 US states are seeing a surge in cases, which has prompted stricter action on vaccine mandates. Earlier in the week , the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance on masking. It now recommends that everybody , regardless of their vaccination status, wear masks indoors when in areas with “substantial” and “high” transmission of Covid-19.
Redefining return to figure
Like many companies, Microsoft (MSFT) plans to possess a hybrid workforce, with some employees working on-site, et al. working remotely, when offices fully reopen, which is tentatively set for September.
“We have already set the policy that up to 50% [of the time], without asking anyone, you’ll work from home,” Nadella said. “And if you would like exceptions thereto , you’ll ask your manager and obtain approval for that also . So we’ve already incorporated quite little bit of flexibility.”
Nadella said he also plans to require advantage of the hybrid work policy.
“I will certainly want to be working remotely, if I can, for 50% of the time and for the opposite 50%, i will be able to come. But we would like to be more driven by essentially what the requirements are,” he said.
The company has instituted variety of changes to accommodate this new work policy, including updating conference rooms with smart cameras, digitizing sales through the utilization of Microsoft Teams and providing personalized training content to its employees.


Other accommodations, like training managers to think about the well-being of the workers they work with has also been an enormous component of Microsoft’s hybrid work approach.
Burnout and psychological state issues have only intensified during the remote work era as home life and work life have collided. It’s a problem that has posed a serious strain on managers when it involves identifying the warning signs in their employees and deciding what they will do to assist , Nadella said.
One way Microsoft is tacking the difficulty is by encouraging its employees to form time for breaks. Nadella cited research the corporate conducted that showed back-to-back meetings generate stress.
“We want to be grounded in what’s it that ultimately drives productivity, not even as output but including even considerations, like wellness,” Nadella said.
He said the corporate will still rest on data and research because it assesses and modifies its return-to-work policies.
“People will vote with their feet,” said Nadella. “So one among the opposite things that I also want us to be is extremely data-driven versus dogmatic in any policy we create. Not just in terms of the opening, but even subsequent year.”
Being a pacesetter
Despite the constant chaos and ambiguity that has arisen from the Covid-19 pandemic, it is also taught Nadella tons about how he leads, communicates and connects with employees.
“I begin of this with a far better recognition of all the constraints at any given time anyone may have in their life,” Nadella told “How do i modify even my very own leadership approach to be ready to accommodate for what are the expectations and wishes of individuals that I work with?”

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