Microsoft has told staff that they will have the option of working from home permanently with manager approval.
The move mimics the US tech giant’s rivals Facebook and Twitter, which have also said remote work would be a permanent option.
It follows a rapid shift away from office working prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Many companies are reconsidering how much office space they need, expecting a long-term increase in remote staff.
Microsoft said some roles will continue to require an in-person presence, such as those needing access to hardware, the firm added. But many staff will also be able to work from home part-time, without needing formal approval from their managers.
“Our goal is to evolve the way we work over time with intention—guided by employee input, data, and our commitment to support individual work styles and business needs while living our culture,” a Microsoft spokesperson said of the new guidance, which she said would apply to UK staff as well.
As of April, more than 46% of those employed were doing some work from home, according to the Office of National Statistics.
That was comparable to the US, where 42% of the workforce was remote in May, according to Stanford University economics professor Nicholas Bloom, whose research looked at people aged 20-64, earning more than $10,000 last year.
While that share decreased to about 35% in August, it still marked a major change. Before the pandemic, just 2% of workers were remote full time, he said.
“What we’re doing now is extremely unusual,” he said.