Microsoft Asks Employees to Work From Home Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

As the coronavirus spreads in the United States, several tech companies are asking their workforces to do their jobs from home.

A new report from CNBC says Microsoft is now allowing employees in San Francisco and Seattle to work from home until March 25 due to the coronavirus outbreak, explaining that only those whose role is essential “to be in the office” should continue to go to their location.

“Consistent with King County guidance, we are recommending all employees who are in a job that can be done from home should do so through March 25,” Microsoft executive vice president Kurt DelBene wrote in a blog post on Wednesday. “Taking these measures will ensure your safety and also make the workplace safer for those that need to be onsite. Please let your manager know that you will be working from home, so all our teams remain well coordinated.”

The move comes after employees were reportedly dissatisfied with the actions Microsoft took internally to protect its employees. The company has already cancelled a couple of events due to the coronavirus outbreak, though it’s yet to make a decision on two of its biggest conferences, Build 2020 and Ignite.

There are currently more than 94,000 cases of COVID-19 worldwide, with 128 confirmed in the US. An ongoing coronavirus outbreak in King County, Washington (close to Microsoft’s corporate campus) has resulted in 21 cases and eight deaths.

Amazon this week also confirmed that one of its Seattle-area employees tested positive for the coronavirus. A spokesperson for the e-commerce giant told CNN that they are recommending that employees in Seattle and Bellevue who are able to work from home do so through the end of March.