Microsoft has allowed and encouraged its employees to work from home as the new corona virus epidemic continues to spread, according tomedia reports. The software giant has updated its staff code to allow anyone in Seattle or San Francisco to work from home until March 9. The company also recommends that employees who feel uncomfortable, have a poor immune system, or have been exposed to the new coronavirus should stay at home.
In an internal memo obtained by the media, Microsoft revealed that about half of its “multiple offices” in mainland China are open and have taken temperature tests. Kurt Delbene, Microsoft’s head of corporate strategy, says that in Microsoft’s China office, employees have the option of working from home, and a “large proportion” of employees are choosing to do so. At the time of writing, Microsoft did not disclose whether any employees were infected with the new corona virus.
Currently, 128 cases of infection have been confirmed in the United States. An outbreak is taking place in King County, Washington, near Microsoft Park, which has resulted in 21 infections and eight deaths. Amazon also confirmed this week that a Seattle employee tested positive for the virus.
Microsoft also requires employees in South Korea to telecommute, and although its offices in Singapore are open, employees are also required to work from home. In Europe, Microsoft offices in Milan and Rome, Italy, remain open, and employees have the option to stay at home. Microsoft also allows employees at other offices in Europe to work from home when necessary. Microsoft also canceled all non-essential business trips to areas where the outbreak was active.
The software maker is still considering whether to continue with the Build developer conference in May. Google recently canceled its I/O developer conference, and Microsoft has canceled its annual MVP summit, which was scheduled for a few weeks. It is unclear whether the Build event will be cancelled altogether. But given the outbreak in Seattle, Microsoft may well have to consider moving this year’s conference online.