In the middle of 2020, the World Health Organization classified SARS-CoV-2 as a type of COVID-19. Soon the viral infection spread throughout the face of the Earth. By the fall of 2021, there have been over 200 million cases around the world. The pandemic affected all spheres of human activities, including large businesses.
Business is either an organization or an entity that engages in commercial, professional activities or provides services of such nature. The basis of any business is people. If the people are impacted by a pandemic, there is no way the business will not be impacted. However, the tech companies are the organizations that have used these conditions to their benefit and have made remarkable progress in adapting to situations that were once considered not feasible for any kind of business. A business staying profitable when the entire world is in lockdown couldn’t be regarded as possible just two decades ago. Just to name a couple of statistics, Hubspot has drafted members of 300 full-time employees. In the United States, 4.7 million workers, which translates to roughly 3.4%, work from home for almost half of the week (Forbes, 2016). Approximately 44% of the workers agree that a part of their team works remotely while 72% of the professionals have shown a green signal to working in a flexible schedule (this includes work from home or/and remotely), which is an essential factor in the future of Human Resources and Hiring (Forbes, 2016). Digitalization is perhaps the most valuable gift granted to organizations in the pandemic. Due to it, organizations have significantly moved towards online platforms and have digitized the communication process. This made the culture of working from home the new normal and thus, opened a chapter of the remote job being the job of the future.
Microsoft is one of the organizations that pioneered the computer and enabled its everyday use. The corporation takes place in the Big Five of companies in the technology industry and is ranked #21 in the 2020 Fortune rating. The founder of Microsoft and famous philanthropist, Bill Gates, is one of the people who have been talking about the pandemic before it actually happened, so it’s no surprise that when it actually occurred, the organization was prepared for it. Gates made us conscious and alerted the world about the viral pandemic back in 2015, saying he wanted humanity to understand what kind of crisis could be awaiting us in the future. Gates emphasized that people should be getting ready and equip themselves in order to be able to handle the forthcoming situation. According to Gates, not enough people were worried about the virus, and the Next Big Thing to kill millions of people will be not a war but a microbe (Lystra, 2021).
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Microsoft intelligently used the conditions in its favor. The company implemented the survival and contingency theory of business strategy adapting its infrastructure, schedules, environment, and human resource-based theory to make its employees a valuable asset by offering extra leaves as the employees’ retainment strategy. This adaptation and the strategic management gave Microsoft the leading edge over other tech companies (Smith, 2020).
Microsoft adopted and used the survival and contingency theory by introducing a workplace model which offered the best for both employees and the organization. This enabled the company to be more empathetic towards the employees. Microsoft constructed a Hybrid Workplace Dial that sticks to six stages instead of specific timelines. This allowed the organization to quickly adapt their worksites depending on the circumstances. This is the central concept of the survival and contingency theory which companies constantly adapt to the environment to survive. Contingency theory suggests that organizations should develop a management plan based on the circumstances and conditions experienced because no single method can be successful (Bantugan, 2021).
Using this as the central thought, Microsoft smartly devised a 6 stage plan to adapt to their circumstances. Each stage represents a situation in the world in reference to the pandemic:
- Stage 1: Closed (COVID cases are in full bloom, and the nation goes on lockdown. This stage is the starting stage of the pandemic)
- Stage 2: Compulsory work from home
- Stage 3: Work from home is motivated and supported
- Stage 4: Partially open
- Stage 5: Open with limitations
- Stage 6: Open for business (Ians, 2020)
COVID-19 seems to be no more a substantial burden upon a local community during this phase of the pandemic, as well as it behaves very much like an endemic virus, just like the common cold. Many pandemic-specific workplace regulations and preventive measures are eliminated at this cycle level, allowing almost all branches’ services to resume. This isn’t the end of the story. Microsoft’s offices were also remodeled in response to the situation. Microsoft recognizes that mixed work will necessitate a new organizational structure and approach that includes flexible work policies, inclusive site development, and cutting-edge software solutions. Companies must satisfy changing employee expectations, link a more scattered workforce, and give tools to develop, innovate, and collaborate to resolve business challenges in the contemporary workplace. Microsoft gathered a team of investigators, engineers, and facilities specialists to create hybrid meeting rooms in Redmond, Washington, and United Kingdom locations (Smith, 2020). To figure out the most successful, inclusive frame for mixed working, the team is experimenting with alternative meeting arrangements and technology such as numerous displays, cameras, and mixed reality situations. We’re still in the early stages, but we’ve looked into everything from repurposing current technology to creating outstanding Microsoft Teams for hybrid working.
Microsoft’s Hybrid Solution gives employees a great environment to work, increases collaboration and community among the company’s 160,000 workers, and serves as a model for such a workplace environment that is both dynamic and hybrid (Lystra, 2021). That hybrid model is a practical illustration of adjusting to changing circumstances, which is the central notion of survival and contingency theory. This tendency is not exclusive to Microsoft; several businesses are following it in order to better adjust to the circumstances.
The human resource-based theory has been the second most essential theory to get implemented here. As a bonus to workers affected by the epidemic, Microsoft granted another 12 weeks of earned leave. Furthermore, Microsoft strived to make the future a better place for everyone, not just its workers. Microsoft has announced a global talents program aiming to increase digital skills among 25 million individuals worldwide by the conclusion of each year (Lystra, 2021). This effort will connect our entire organization by merging current and new assets from LinkedIn, GitHub, and Microsoft. It would be based on three main activities:
- Using data to determine in-demand jobs as well as the skills required to enter them.
- Providing free opportunities for learning paths as well as content to assist people in developing such skills.
- Providing low-cost qualifications and free job-search tools to assist people that developed such skills in finding new jobs.
This approach is an excellent illustration of its human resource-based philosophy, which views people as assets and prioritizes them.
According to estimates, worldwide unemployment might exceed a quarter-billion people by 2020. It’s an astounding figure. Microsoft recognizes this figure because the pandemic knows no boundaries. The Congressional Budget Office forecasts that the unemployment rate in the U.S. will rise by 12.3 points (from 3.5% to 15.8%), resulting in more than 21 million extra jobless individuals. Several other countries and entire regions are confronted with similar issues. Microsoft devised a methodical strategy to resolving the issue (Nelson & Ragelis, 2021).
Microsoft’s efforts are based on six essential components:
- Utilize data and technology to assist individuals in learning new skills.
The quickest and perhaps most sensible way to solve the skills gap is to offer innovation a chance and help more people get expertise faster, starting with computerized abilities. Microsoft uses data to identify the most in-demand skills and those who require the most support.
- Focus on a diverse variety of abilities.
Even as the organization focuses on tech-enabled roles, it aims to support the development of broader skills, such as the keenness required to ensure the thoughtful application of innovation as well as the sensitive talents necessary to identify and succeed in such a new role.
- Employers should be asked to do more.
Demand that businesses go above and beyond. The organization agrees that companies should play a more significant role than they have in the past in supporting representatives in developing these new skills. As a company, Microsoft intends to assign additional preparation duties to its employees. It would also help its customers to better handle the concerns raised through their own agents.
- Lean on your allies.
Associations are crucial in this field, as they have been in so many others. The organization also desires to organize its efforts with non-profit groups and government support in mind. Additionally, it will focus its philanthropic aid on providing additional assistance to those who require it the most, keeping in mind the United States’ lighting networks (Pal & Vanijja, 2020).
- Bring the entire organization together.
Arrange every element of the company. The organization believes that the global skills shortage is a problem it can help address if Microsoft organizes all parts of the business. As a result, the current initiative brings together Microsoft, LinkedIn, GitHub, and Microsoft Philanthropies with LinkedIn’s CSR program.
- Change policy by using voices.
The company intends to share its knowledge and encourage public arrangement improvements to aid in reskilling vacancies as it learns more about what benefits people most.
To summarise, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant effect on both the national and international economies. Companies are dealing with a wide variety of problems, all of which result in some level of loss. In particular, they are dealing with a slew of issues, including a drop in consumption, supply chain interruptions, cancellation of manufactured exports, raw material shortages, and transportation difficulties, to name a few. Nonetheless, it is abundantly apparent that the COVID-19 pandemic has a substantial impact on companies worldwide. While no business is immune to the consequences of COVID-19, the technology sector has shown extraordinary resilience and sometimes even development in certain areas. In this Microsoft essay, we’ve established that the corporation took advantage of the situation and focused on adjusting its environment and infrastructure to a new circumstance. This involves promoting a hybrid professional work paradigm as well as making operating from residence the right choice. As a result, the company became considerably better prepared for the pandemic. Microsoft hit proper notes to have the staff back into society by altering their typical model and offering a 6-step plan for working. The company responded to the changing world and devised a plan to meet the conditions, making it a strong candidate for the survival and contingency hypothesis. Microsoft also employed human resource theory to make people the fundamental cause for their survival. The organization went a step further by devising plans not just for the company’s employees but also for those who got impacted by the pandemic on a worldwide scale. Microsoft included advantages in their sabbatical plans, particularly for the welfare and the health of the workers, but they also recognized and comprehended the present pandemic scenario and how much it affected individuals outside the company. As a result of the rising unemployment caused by the viral pandemic, Microsoft devised the techniques described above as a possible remedy.
Bantugan, L. V. (2021). RELEVANCE OF CONTINGENCY THEORY AMID PANDEMIC.
Forbes, Р. (2016). The world’s biggest public companies. Forbes.
Ians. (2020, August 1). Microsoft is reportedly planning A Six-Phase re-opening of its offices in the U.S. on January 19, 2021. News18. https://www.news18.com/news/tech/microsoft-is-reportedly-planning-a-six-phase-re-opening-of-its-offices-in-us-on-january-19-2021-2749257.html.
Lystra, T. (2021, February 22). Microsoft giving employees extra paid days off to ease pandemic stress. Bizwoman. https://www.bizjournals.com/bizwomen/news/latest-news/2021/02/microsoft-giving-employees-extra-time-off.html
Nelson, A. J., & Ragelis, G. (2021). Office is the New Retail: A Dynamic Property Sector Faces Painful Adjustments and a Bifurcated Recovery. PERSPECTIVE, 45(9).
Pal, D., & Vanijja, V. (2020). Perceived usability evaluation of Microsoft Teams as an online learning platform during COVID-19 using system usability scale and technology acceptance model in India. Children and youth services review, 119, 105535.
Smith, B. Microsoft launches initiative to help 25 million people worldwide acquire the digital skills needed in a COVID-19 economy, 2020.