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Microsoft's Redmond, Wash., headquarters. Photo: Wang Ying/Xinhua via Getty

Microsoft is the latest big company to embrace the work-from-home experiment, announcing it will allow all employees to telework up to 50% of the time and some employees to work remotely forever.

Why it matters: Microsoft's approach will be a test of whether the hybrid workplace model can succeed at a massive scale.

The big picture: Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft have now all bought into the remote future, saying some or all workers can stay home permanently.

  • And earlier on Tuesday, Dropbox, a tech company with well over 2,000 employees, announced that it's going "virtual first." "Remote work (outside an office) will be the primary experience for all employees and the day-to-day default for individual work," the company said.
  • "It's just further confirmation that there's no putting this genie back in the bottle," says Darren Murph, head of remote work at GitLab, the world's largest all-remote company. "These are massive companies with massive quarterly reports on the line, completely rearchitecting their businesses."

Two things to watch:

  1. Choosing the remote option could slash pay. Facebook and Microsoft have both said their teleworkers can move out of the expensive tech hotspots of Silicon Valley and Seattle, but they've added that employee salaries and benefits will be adjusted according to where they live.
  2. The future of tech playgrounds is up in the air. Microsoft will ask permanently remote employees to give up their desks. If more and more techies choose the work-from-home option, tech giants could begin to downsize their huge campuses.

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Jan 19, 2021 - Economy & Business

New survey shows companies are open to moving to cheaper locales

The Phoenix office tower in Houston, Texas. The Lone Star State was the top stated destination for executives considering moving their operations. Photo: Loren Elliott/Getty Images

A survey of C-suite executives found more than a quarter are considering moving their operations to another state or country.

Why it matters: The forced march to remote work during the pandemic has shaken loose the bonds that tie large businesses to their home territory — and that could be bad news for high-cost cities and states.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
Jan 20, 2021 - Economy & Business

The age of digital nomads

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Work-wherever is now mature enough that startups are popping up to serve the digital nomads — those who are hopping around from city to city or country to country as they telework.

What's happening: Leases are getting shorter and countries are experimenting with remote work visas as the pandemic upends the way we live.

Jan 20, 2021 - Health

Amazon offers to help Biden administration with COVID vaccine efforts

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos at the White House with Jill Biden in 2016. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Amazon's worldwide consumer CEO Dave Clark has offered to help the Biden administration with its coronavirus vaccination goals by mobilizing efforts to inoculate its employees, according to a letter sent to President Biden on Wednesday.

Why it matters: As demand for the coronavirus vaccine is outstripping supply, Amazon has about 800,000 employees, many of whom are essential workers. The Biden administration wants to vaccinate 100 million Americans in 100 days.