Microsoft earmarked October 4 as the date when it would fully reopen its Redmond headquarters and its other offices in the United States, but now those plans are on hold.
“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 US worksites as soon as we’re able to do so safely based on public health guidance,” Microsoft modern work CVP Jared Spataro said.
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From cancelled conferences to disrupted supply chains, not a corner of the global economy is immune to the spread of COVID-19.
He said that when the company redecides a new opening date, it will give staff a 30-day heads up so that both staff and company can prepare for their return.
The tech giant has pushed back its office reopening date a handful of times now. Last October, Microsoft officials told employees they were pushing back the reopening date for the company’s U.S.-based offices from January 2021 to July 2021. In late March, Microsoft provided another update on its COVID-19 coronavirus-inspired re-opening plans, notifying employees that they’d be moving to Stage 4 (soft reopen) of the Puget Sound area Microsoft offices on March 29. Then, in April it changed the full reopen July date to September 7, at the earliest.
The news comes off the back of Microsoft announcing additional features for Teams, including Cameo, a feature that enables users to integrate the Teams camera feed into a PowerPoint presentation to allow the presenter to customer how and where they want to appear on the screen with their slides.
Microsoft said it was also introducing AI-enabled cameras to be used with its Teams Rooms services, so that in-room cameras can detect who is speaking in the room based on audio, facial movements, and gestures, allow in-room participants to be placed in their own video pane, and identify and display the profile name of enrolled users within their video pane.
Outlook RSVP is another feature being added to let people notify whether they will attend a meeting in-person or remotely.
Additionally, Microsoft announced the public preview of Microsoft Viva Connections mobile app. Available later this month, the app, Microsoft claims, is a Microsoft 365 powered “single employee app” for company communications, news, and announcements, submitting expense reports, and requesting time off work.