Microsoft bumps back return-to-work target date by six months

Microsoft Logo at Ignite
Microsoft Logo at Ignite (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft delayed the earliest possible reopening date for its offices in the United States.
  • The initial earliest release date was January 2021, but it is now July 6, 2021.
  • Some Microsoft employees can work in offices before this date, but many work from home.

Microsoft initially set January 2021 as the earliest date that its U.S. offices would reopen. That date has now been bumped back by six months. According to a report by ZDNet, Microsoft moved the earliest date that U.S. offices might reopen to July 6, 2021.

The move is not surprising and falls in line with current health guidelines. Microsoft started recommending that employees work from home in March of this year. Even after offices in the U.S. reopen, many Microsoft employees will be able to continue to work from home part-time.

Recent internal guidance from Microsoft outlines a "hybrid workplace," where many people are allowed to work from home up to fifty percent of the time. With managerial approval, some employees will be able to work from home full-time.

Details about Microsoft moving its date to reopen offices come from an internal email cited by ZDNet. According to the email, Microsoft states that U.S. offices will likely be in "Stage 6" on July 6, 2021.

"Returning to the worksite remains optional until we get to Stage 6. This stage represents a time when COVID-19 is no longer a significant burden on a country/region and most health and safety restrictions at our worksites are removed," said Kurt Delbene in the cited email. Delbene is Microsoft's executive vice president, corporate strategy, core services engineering and operations.

Microsoft still tells employees that working from home is "strongly encouraged," though there are some exceptions. In states that are in Stage 3, people with difficulties affecting their ability to work from home can work onsite. The majority of states in the U.S. are currently Stage 3, with the exceptions being California, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Fort Collins and Boulder, Colorado worksites.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at