‘When Microsoft goes down, others follow:’ How Microsoft won the ‘respect’ of its employees as the coronavirus crisis forced most of the company to work from home, according to insiders (MSFT)

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Microsoft has handled the coronavirus crisis internally by mandating that most employees work from home, streaming company-wide town halls from executives’ homes, expanding benefits like paid leave for parents, and even delivering food and medications to employee homes.
Letty Cherry, Microsoft’s head of employee communications, explained why Microsoft was careful not to make any rash decisions during the crisis – which initially read to some employees as inaction – and what’s ahead for the company.
Some employees initially said Microsoft’s response was insufficient. According to four employees who spoke with Business Insider, that sentiment appears to have changed.
Even one of the employees who initially said they were disappointed with Microsoft’s response said now “respect for leadership is at the highest.”
Cherry told Business Insider that working remotely hasn’t had a major impact on productivity or the company’s roadmap, but at least one team has been working under relaxed deadlines, according to an employee. Microsoft declined to elaborate on that point.
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As the coronavirus crisis started to worsen in the area of Washington state where Microsoft is headquartered in early March, the company on the outside appeared less concerned than its peers.

Some employees even called the company’s initial response “disappointing,” compared to steps taken by competitors including Salesforce, which quickly instituted a ban on non-essential business travel to help protect its employees amid the initial outbreak in the US.

But inside the senior leadership team, Microsoft executives worried about making rash decisions that could be replicated elsewhere in the industry. As one of the very few trillion-dollar companies in the world, what Microsoft did would be studied and repeated — even, or especially, if it reacted quickly and rashly.

Letty Cherry, Microsoft’s head of global employee, leader and culture communications, said the company monitored the situation in the regions where it operates, and didn’t want to take drastic action that could disrupt local or global markets before it had a full grasp of the situation.

“When Microsoft goes down, others follow,” Cherry said.

The sentiment about Microsoft’s response, too, according to four employees who spoke with Business Insider, appears to have changed after Microsoft enacted a broad work-from-home policy, and offered other benefits such as continuing to pay hourly workers during the crisis, and extending paid leave for parents who can’t work from home while their children aren’t in school. The company has allowed at least some people to bring home office PCs, monitors and even ergonomic chairs.

Even one of the employees who initially said they were disappointed with Microsoft’s response said now “respect for leadership is at the highest.” Business Insider is not naming the employees because they are not authorized to speak publicly about company policies.

The company has also relaxed deadlines for at least one team in the company’s massive cloud organization, an employee said. On that point, Cherry told Business Insider that working remotely hasn’t had a major impact on productivity or the company’s roadmap, and there’s been …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

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