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Microsoft plans to fully reopen its HQ at the end of February

Employees will be given 30 days to make adjustments and adopt any working preferences

Microsoft has announced plans to fully open its headquarters in Washington State on 28 February. 

The company is giving employees 30 days from that date to make "adjustments to their routines and adopt any working preferences" they have agreed with their managers. Employees can choose to work remotely on a permanent basis, to return to the office full-time, or to embrace a hybrid routine that sees that split their time between the two.

"Several factors" were taken into consideration for determining whether the site is ready to be fully open, according to Microsoft, including COVID-19's impact on the region, such as hospitalisations and the community's vaccination rates.

As of 8 February, 83.8% of King County residents - where the majority of the company's Washington employees live - have been fully vaccinated. In addition, 91.6% have received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccination. 

"These high vaccination rates, along with declining hospitalisations and deaths in the state, are part of what enables us to move to this stage of our hybrid work journey," Microsoft said in a blog post

The company added that it is also helping to establish local testing solutions as well as aligning its business policies and guidelines with the government's recommendations. 

Beyond Washington, the tech giant is also opening its Bay Area sites in California, which includes its new Silicon Valley Campus. Vaccination rates in the Santa Clara area are slightly higher, with 93.6% of those over 18-years of age having received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine.

Compared to Washington, the state of California is also home to more vaccinated adults, according to statistics from Our World in Data. As of 14 February, 81.3% have had at least one jab and only 69.8% are fully vaccinated in the region. For the entire state of Washington, only 70.5% were fully vaccinated. 

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Daily cases in California are still more than 23,000 while average death rates from COVID-19 were 163, according to California's official dashboard. Microsoft said it "anticipates" that many of its other US locations will follow suit as "conditions allow". 

Microsoft hasn't said whether employees will need to be vaccinated in order to return to the office. Google and Facebook, on the other hand, recently announced that staff based in the US will need to be fully vaccinated before they return to the workplace.

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