Coronavirus concerns push Microsoft to encourage remote work for employees

Microsoft logo
Microsoft logo (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft is encouraging employees to work from home as concerns grow over the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Seattle and San Francisco-area employees can work from home through March 25.
  • Microsoft is also allowing workers at its offices in some other countries to work remotely.

Updated March 10. 2020: In an updated guidance, Microsoft now recommends employees at its Seattle and Bay Area offices work from home through March 25. The original story follows.

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to spike in countries around the globe, Microsoft has started allowing employees in San Francisco and Seattle to work from home, according to The Verge. Anyone based in either city can take the opportunity to work remotely through March 9. Employees who are sick, have a comprimised immune system, or have been in contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 is encouraged to stay home.

The move comes as COVID-19 has gained a significant foothold in the Seattle area. In total, 28 people have been officially diagnosed with the virus in Washington state, and nine people have died. Amazon confirmed this week that one of its Seattle employees tested positive for the coronavirus and is now in quarantine.

According to The Verge, Microsoft has made several moves to stem the outbreak at its offices in other countries as well. Microsoft employees in South Korea are required to work from home, while employees in Milan, Rome, and elsewhere in Europe have the option to work from home.

Earlier this week, Microsoft announced that its upcoming MVP Summit will now be a virtual event. There's no word on whether the company's Build 2020 developer conference in May will be cancelled or switch to a virtual event, but Microsoft says it is "monitoring public health guidance" in a message on several of its event websites.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl