Microsoft employees to receive $1,500 bonuses after "challenging year"

Employees at Microsoft subsidiaries LinkedIn, GitHub, and ZeniMax will not be eligible

Microsoft is set to hand out $1,500 bonuses to many of its employees as a reward for enduring remote work during the pandemic, according to an internal memo.

The one-time bonuses, which are said to be “in recognition of the unique and challenging fiscal year that Microsoft just completed”, will cost the tech giant around $200 million, as reported by The Verge.

Microsoft's chief people officer, Kathleen Hogan, said the bonus will apply to all eligible employees of the company in both the US and abroad. However, it will only be available to staff below corporate vice president level that started on or before 31 March 2021, which includes part-time workers and those on hourly rates.

Workers at Microsoft-owned LinkedIn, GitHub and ZeniMax will not be eligible, the company has said.

It's thought the bonuses will amount to less than two days’ worth of profit for the company.

Microsoft announced in March that it would slowly reopen its headquarters in Washington as it prepared to embrace hybrid working. Employees were given a choice of returning to Redmond work sites or nearby campuses, to continue working remotely, or to do a mixture of both.

This came after the tech giant gave its employees the option to work from home on a permanent basis last October, where a company-wide email confirmed that employees can work from home “forever”.

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However, a week before the announcement, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella warned that businesses should consider the effects the change to remote working has on collaboration, learning, and wellbeing. He also raised the problem of video call fatigue and the potential for people to feel like they are unable to switch off between video calls. He also argued that commutes to the office serve as meaningful downtime.

New research from CWJobs found that only a minority of tech workers are planning to stay in their current positions within the next 12 months in the UK. Less than a third of tech workers and decision-makers will continue in their current position even though 62% said they felt more valued during the pandemic.

One of the main drivers for the exodus is the added pressures being placed on workers, with a widening skills gap blamed for businesses unable to fill key vacancies.

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