Microsoft No Longer Plans a Return to Office Date

Posted on September 9, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft with 61 Comments

Bowing to the inevitable, Microsoft revealed today that it no longer has a timetable for its employees to return to the office.

“We had planned for Oct. 4 to be the first possible date to fully reopen Microsoft’s own Redmond headquarters, and many other work sites in the U.S.,” Microsoft corporate vice president Jared Spataro explains. “But as we shared with our employees today, we’ve shifted those plans. Given the uncertainty of COVID-19, we’ve decided against attempting to forecast a new date for a full reopening of our U.S. work sites in favor of opening U.S. work sites as soon as we’re able to do so safely based on public health guidance.”

Previously, Microsoft had announced its plans for employees to return to the office by July, and then September, and then October. But with anti-vaxxer idiots standing in the way of public health and the return to normal, those plans keep getting delayed.

Going forward, Microsoft says it will communicate a 30-day transition period that provides time for employees to prepare for the return to the office.

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Comments (61)

61 responses to “Microsoft No Longer Plans a Return to Office Date”

  1. will

    Sounds reasonable.

  2. ind1g0

    My Son's teacher is vaccinated and guess what? She got COVID this week. Stop putting your faith in a single vaccine for a virus that is constantly evolving with each season like the flu. Invest in improving your own health instead.

    Vaccines aren't going to be the panacea we all want them to be in this case - If you can even consider the COVID vaccine a real vaccine. Its more of a symptom reducer.

    We need accept this and move on but stay cautious until we get real heard immunity out there. COVID is another flu like issue. Its not the black plague with with a 50% death rate. Its extremely survivable.

    Hey Paul, you started it...

    • webdev511

      anything that keeps my family, friends and myself out of the hospital is a good thing. I really don't need to see anymore stories about people with "normal" issues that need an ER, accidents, heart attacks, strokes, etc. dying because it was full of people self-medicating based on talk radio/FB advice or un-vax'd.

      My employer is currently saying January, we'll see about that.

    • bluvg

      This deduction is wrong: take care of your health INSTEAD OF getting the vaccine (aside from those with compromised immune systems, etc.). The vaccine is, by FAR, the biggest thing you can do for yourself, for others around you, for the economy, for mental health, for the healthcare system, etc. etc. Take care of your health AND get the vaccine, not instead of. At that point, yes, COVID will be something we just live with.

    • perception7

      Yep, people are still pushing this fallacy. Getting COVID with the vaccine is vastly different than getting it without the vaccine. I have an unvaccinated step-brother intubated and in a coma for a few days now, leaving his wife and young kids to wonder what life will be like. Long recovery or will he make it?

      I also had a friend who had just finished his final round of chemo for cancer, was vaccinated, and in 4 weeks he caught COVID and passed in July due to the high number of unvaccinated in his area. The cancer impacted the effectiveness of the vaccine (he'd likely be in line for a booster today if he'd made it).

      So keep spreading that BS, but just so you know, it stinks and so do you for spreading it.

      • hopmedic

        I'm sorry for your loss...

        I'm curious, though. Do you have evidence that he died "due to the high number of unvaccinated in his area," or are you just creating an anecdote?

        While I was in the hospital several nurses said that most of those in their care were vaccinated. And since the adoption rate in our area was less than 40% last I heard (a couple weeks ago), one would expect that to be flipped, no?

        Covid "science" defies logic in so many ways.

      • waethorn

        If the vaccine works, why didn’t the vaccine work?

        • Daishi

          It probably did work. As I said further down this thread, vaccines are not a magic shield.

          • waethorn

            So, not-working is how they work.

            That’s some logic you got there.

            • mestiphal

              It's not an immunity, it's just supposed to help you stay away from the ER. It also definitely doesn't mean you won't get COVID, or that you can't give COVID to someone else. It just means that you have a lesser chance to die from it.

              • waethorn

                I already have a 99.7% survival chance without injecting myself with an experimental treatment that has never been used in production before, but has known side effects. I’m good. If anyone around me is afraid to get sick by going out or meeting people, THEY should quarantine themselves in a bubble for the rest of their life.

    • Christopher Spera

      The single biggest reason why we are seeing variants is because a large part of the population hasn't or is refusing to get the shot. Viruses mutate naturally, but if you build an immunity base, that mutation is greatly reduced, and so are the infection rates.

      I understand why a great many initially didn't want to get the shot - it hadn't gone through a lot of study and testing time. However with hundreds of million doses given around the world AND Pfizer and Moderna getting approvals, everyone should feel better about getting one of those. IMPO, that many are still refusing to get the shot because of some political point of view or feel that its distribution is politically motivated or influenced.

      At some point, you either get the shot or you don't; but if you get the bug, you have no one to blame but yourself. Regardless of what you do, yes, like the flu, you may need a shot every year or a booster every so often... At some point, we're going to have to get back to normal, or get used to where we are and then live with those (good or bad) consequences.

      We are scrambling because there are break thru infections in our area and we have a newborn and other immuno-compromised people in the family.

      • bettyblue

        "The single biggest reason why we are seeing variants is because a large part of the population hasn't or is refusing to get the shot."

        Do you have any scientific proof of this? Just a single shred?

        I got the vaccine back in March and I am not a anti-vaxer. I was in the military and they injected me with all kinds of vaccines and I get the flu vaccine every year, had the Shingles vaccine last year when I turned 50 as well.

        That said there is a lot of BS floating around about this virus and the vaccine. There is also some good science that is being ignored, like the fact that if you had the virus you have something like 400% more protection against it than a vaccinated person.

        If that is true then lets look at the REAL numbers. 50% vaccinated in the US. How many have had it????? Way more than we probably know. Sadly many of the vulnerable (old or in poor health for whatever reason) have been taken by it as well, just like any other virus (flu etc). What does that leave us at this point?

        Realistically 80% of the population has some form of protection at this point. Either the vaccine or they have had it. When you read that were 10,000 or 30,000 or 60,000 new cases last week or whatever, 99.7% of those people live and are now way more immune than those that are only vaccinated.

      • lvthunder

        Most of the variants come from places that have no vaccine. So maybe we should ship vaccines to those places instead of giving people booster shots.

    • Daishi

      Its more of a symptom reducer.

      You know that that is what pretty much all vaccines are, right? They aren’t a magic shield that makes you completely impervious to the virus. They just improve your bodies immune response so that you don’t get as sick or have as great a viral load, so you’re less likely to pass it on.

    • kevwit

      All of you anti-vaxxers are all the same. As regards to the efficacy of the vaccine, statistics don't lie. Stop spreading misinformation just because you hold a grudge against Paul for calling out your own stupidity.

    • martinm

      If you don't want the vaccine then STAY at home and don't leave it. You got a choice. However, if you chose not to, then don't consume hospital beds when you get COVID. We need those for the people who are are sick due to misfortune, not stupidity.

    • bettyblue

      Amen. This so called vaccine is more like a therapeutic, think Tamiflu, than a real vaccine. Your health is vastly more important that the vaccine. Not saying you should not get it, it can help you and help the spread but its not like vaccines of the past that flat out stopped infection.

      Get in shape and eat right, and it will do you wonders, including helping you fight this virus if you get it.

    • compuser

      First off, you have to realize that unless you get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you did not get vaccinated. Both Pfizer and Moderna are mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid) injections which basically give the body instructions on how to produce protein. A vaccine contains an agent that resembles the disease-causing virus and is made from weakened or killed forms of the microbe, its toxins, or one of its surface proteins. The vaccine stimulates the body's immune system to recognize the virus as a threat, destroy it, and protect the body from future infections from it. The mRNA injections are not meant to prevent infections from the virus like a vaccine does. It's meant to lessen the effects of the virus once a body is infected. So it's really no wonder that so many supposedly "fully vaccinated" people are getting infected. Most people are getting either the Pfizer or Moderna injections, and therefore aren't vaccinated at all. (I got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine myself, although my wife and son both got Moderna injections. My son tested positive after he was considered to be fully protected.)

    • LT1 Z51

      Regardless of it being an eliminator or a reducer, it's a net gain to the system. And at this point any net gain is good.

  3. LT1 Z51

    Hybrid work is the future for those who can.

  4. StevenLayton

    They don’t spread it as much, get less I’ll and so don’t put as much pressure on the hospitals.

  5. blue77star

    Btw new version of Windows 11 inside dev channel is out but also new update for Windows 11 1.0, downloading as I write this.

  6. bluvg

    This is partly true. The early evidence was that infected vaccinated carried the same viral load as infected unvaccinated. But:

    • The chances for vaccinated to get infected is far lower in the first place
    • They've since found that same viral load does not behave the same in infected vaccinated and have the same actual rate of spread
  7. MarkPow

    Pleased to see common sense prevailing.

  8. richfrantz

    My company filled the IT offices with new hires for the customer facing teams. IT...permanent WFH.

  9. lukec

    I have been working from home since forever. I would never recommend it.

    Here is how this is going to go: The next HoloLens is not going to come from people who were working from home. It's going to be people, together, in an lab in a boring-looking building who are tired and cranky and will look back on the experience as the best thing that they will never do again. While there are teams at Microsoft who will work remotely and be perfectly fine, people will see colleagues, who are physically present, be the ones are more likely to be promoted. They were the ones who bumped into the VP of such and such in the hallway. They were the ones who were there for the after work conversation over beers. They were the ones who overheard a stressed out person from sales complain about an unsolvable problem and jumped in to solve it.

    The second problem will happen in about 5ish years when Microsoft figures out mentoring is broken. 24-year-olds can't grow in isolation. Especially software engineers need to make that transition from your goal no longer being writing something to get an A in your data structures class but instead writing a thing people want. That doesn't happen without sharing a lunch table with someone in sales or marketing.

    In the way many of us have retreating into our echo chambers with social media where we only interact with like-minded people, the same thing will happen in the office. People's view of the world will become narrow and small. Homogenous even. And innovation will suffer.

  10. conan007

    "But with anti-vaxxer idiots standing in the way of public health and the return to normal, those plans keep getting delayed." right, let anti-vaxxers dictate how we should live our lives.

  11. Chris_Kez

    My company said in June that we were targeting a late July return and then never said anything again.

  12. codymesh

    Microsoft should be taking the lead in hybrid work arrangements.

  13. mclark2112

    "But with anti-vaxxer idiots standing in the way of public health and the return to normal, those plans keep getting delayed."

    Story of our lives...

    • perception7

      Yep, and we all need to call it like it is. Even when its our own family doing it.

    • compuser

      "But with anti-vaxxer idiots ..." I'm not sure who the real idiots are. The people refusing to get this untested, unapproved by the FDA "vaccine", or the ones who are running out to get injected with something that no one really, truly knows anything about. And now that Moderna (who is making billions from this pandemic) is pushing the government to require a third injection, I wonder how many people will run out and get that injection as well. Particularly now that evidence (all the "fully vaccinated" people who are coming down with Covid-10) is showing that it's basically ineffective.

      Also, maybe you shouldn't call people idiots just because they disagree with you on this. We're not anti-vaxxers as you say, we just don't want to be injected with something that can't possibly be fully tested, and that has not been approved by the FDA. According to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, A typical vaccine development timeline takes 5 to 10 years, and sometimes longer, to assess whether the vaccine is safe and efficacious in clinical trials, complete the regulatory approval processes, and manufacture sufficient quantity of vaccine doses for widespread distribution. This virus was out and being administered within weeks.

  14. bluvg

    "anti-vaxxer idiots"

    Oh no, here we go ? They're not (all) idiots, they're just bad at comparative math.

    I have a feeling these "return to office" plans are somewhat wishful thinking among these companies for non-pandemic reasons, though. As codymesh said, Microsoft should be eating their own dogfood here, as they're selling to other companies products and services designed around hybrid work.

    • lvthunder

      Or they have had bad experiences with vaccines in the past or they have health concerns that getting the vaccines will make worse. But Paul likes to label those who disagree with him on certain topics as idiots. Just ask someone who thinks iOS is not a monopoly.

      • fishnet37222

        Or they don't believe the government should force them to inject stuff into their bodies.

        • MoopMeep

          Something I don't understand.

          Why say no to the vaccine but then if you get covid, you take ivermectin instead?

          I know there is a human compatible version of ivermectin but even that isn't recommended?

          The vaccine has been tested on so many people, I don't really understand.

          • fishnet37222

            I hate needles and will never voluntarily get stabbed with one.

            • VMax

              The needle is genuinely barely even noticeable. It's nothing like the sort that would be used to take a blood sample or similar. I'd encourage you to check out some of the videos that show doctors distracting children with various tactics before giving an immunisation - that's not to compare yourself to them, but to demonstrate that even a screaming, flighty pain in the neck child is only reacting to *perceived* pain, and they don't actually notice the event itself if they're not paying attention to it. That part applies to almost everybody, I think. There's no shame in hating needles, but the benefits here are so great that it's worth dealing with that mild annoyance.

            • perception7

              Just wait till you require a tube shoved down your throat or for someone you know that you spread it to. That tiny needle is going to seem like nothing. I have extended family members that are now in crisis because they all bought into the anti-vaxx hype and one of them is now in a coma. He's healthy and in his early 40s with several young children and wife who he supports. The rest of his siblings/parents are now fumbling about rethinking their anti-vax views but still struggling. It sucks because it didn't need to happen and it is putting a strain on the entire medical system with impacts to those needing other types of medical care as well.

            • hensonr

              But, wouldn't one, or two, shots for the vaccine beat the countless times you would get poked if you ended up in the hospital with COVID?

            • MoopMeep

              I get that part. Why would someone take ivermacin instead though? I would be more scared taking that since its not a recommended treatment.

              • bettyblue

                So you bought that fake news about ivermacin?? I thought all of that was discredited? Yes I know RollingStone, CNN, MSNBC and many other ran that story and NEVER made in retractions but its FAKE.

          • winner

            Or why deny all the medical data on the vaccine, but then once they're very ill they expect modern medicine to save them?

            And their doctors wear masks, too!

        • bluvg

          Which govt is forcing you?

        • codymesh

          You would have a point, if not for the fact that taking the vaccine is completely voluntary.

          But there are people who don't want the vaccine, they don't want to wear masks, they don't want to maintain social distancing, and some even have started harassing healthcare workers. So here we are, heading straight for Covid-22

      • bluvg

        That's the bad at comparative math part. COVID > spreading COVID to others >>>>>>>>>>>>>> vaccine.

      • red.radar

        Vaccines are FDA approved. There is no execuse for the general population to be concerned. They have simply been manipulated by misinformation from media outlets who peddle spin or social media that profits by distributing click bait and lies.

        • waethorn

          We started this off with “it’s only 2 weeks to flatten to curve” and it’ll end with implanted ID chips under your skin. We’re about half way there already, what with calls for your smartphone being turned into your digital ID system required to be on you at all times for government spying, just like in China.

          • codymesh

            lmao shut up

            • waethorn

              Biden just said all companies over 100 employees must force vaccination on everyone. No jab, no job. A few months ago it was “get vaxxed, or wear a mask”. Prior to that, it was “vaccine passports are a conspiracy theory by right-wing nutjobs”.

              Are you really looking at the last 20 months in historical context and can still claim otherwise with a straight face?

              • codymesh

                Actually Biden said employers must do regular Covid-19 tests for unvaccinated employees, or get the vaccine to avoid the tests. So it's not "no jab, no job", you're just watching too much propaganda.

                Anyway, vaccine passports are already a thing - they're called immunization records. They've always been a thing.

                Also it's nice to dunk on china's surveillance state but at least they're handling covid. America has a surveillance state, and in pursuit of freedom....600,000 covid deaths. And you'll still be getting spam robocalls on your phone.

                • waethorn

                  You never needed a vaccine passport for influenza, Ebola, hepatitis, HIV….

                  The 600,000 death count is a fallacy that’s been called out by objective doctors and nurses, due to the fact that hospitals get funding to classify deaths as COVID, just as schools are getting funding to mandate masks for kids. It’s also a fact that hospitals will classify a death within 14 days of a jab as an unvaccinated death caused by COVID.

                  And I don’t watch propaganda. In Canada, the Trudeau gov’t pays the CBC billions as the pro-liberal mouthpiece, along with hundreds of millions in funding to all of the mainstream media networks to toe the party line. All of Trudeau’s scandals have been effectively covered up, just like how the MSM in the US have stopped covering Biden’s disastrous Afghanistan pullout where Americans are still trapped, in favour of the climate change bauble.

                  China isn’t “handling” anything - they created it with Fauci’s money. And you’re paying Fauci back in your taxes from the state-funded jab money going back to Big Pharmacy as was designed to take your freedom away.

        • payton

          Not quite. They supposedly (I haven't researched this argument myself so I won't assert it) haven't gone through the normal FDA approval process and they certainly (I have researched this) haven't gone through the normal, complete series of tests that most vaccines go through. Those generally take 10-15 years because of the need to study the long term effects of the vaccine. Please tell me how these long term studies have been done on a drug that development started on less than two years ago? Pfizer destroyed their control group a few months back by telling them they had received the placebo and giving them the vaccine invaliding even the little bit of study that they had done and actually preventing any kind of long term study of the effects.

          • waethorn

            Why is there no call for people to stay in the “control group” to help with long-term delta tests?

    • winner

      They're not (all) idiots, they're just bad at comparative math.


      Or perhaps they're ignorant because they watch propaganda channels masquerading as "news".

      • payton

        Or perhaps they have examined the data for themselves and made an informed decision, not one based on the official narrative. Most of the folks I know who have chosen not to get the vaccine are knowledgeable about data from reliable sources, unlike most of those I know who have chosen to get the vaccine. There really are sound arguments on both sides of this issue, though you won't hear them on NPR or read them in the NYT. And for what it is worth, most of the folks I know who are cautious about this vaccine are not "anti-vaxxers" in general.

        The idiocy is in the name-calling and vitriol toward those with whom you disagree, starting with the highest political levels in this country and extending all the way down. This prevents any reasoned discussion of the facts.

        • waethorn

          The only science being done is political science. Real science has discussion and counter-arguments, not one side claiming “there is no discussion”.

  15. Marrie

    Great article!