An internal Microsoft memo tells employees to talk to managers about coronavirus travel concerns — and some employees say it's not enough
Microsoft Executive Vice President Kurt DelBene sent an email to employees on Monday instructing them to discuss with their manager any concerns they might have with work travel amid the spread of coronavirus. Some Microsoft employees expressed concerns to Business Insider that the company's response is insufficient. Salesforce, for example, has paused nonessential travel for its 50,000 employees. DelBene in his email said "global health authorities have communicated to us that the risk to the general public outside of Mainland China and those specific affected regions is presently low." Each of the six deaths from COVID-19 – the illness caused by coronavirus – in the US at the time of this writing have occurred in Washington state, five of them in King County, home to Microsoft's headquarters. Click here to read more BI Prime stories.
Microsoft's internal response to managing the coronavirus outbreak has included asking employees to discuss with their managers any travel concerns, according to an email reviewed by Business Insider. "Any employee who feels uncomfortable travelling or attending any event (whether it be 1st or 3rd party, external or internal) should feel empowered to work with their manager to make the decision that is best for them and their family," Microsoft Executive Vice President Kurt DelBene said in an email to employees on Monday. Each of the six deaths from COVID-19 – the illness caused by coronavirus – in the US at the time of this writing have occurred in Washington state, five of them in King County, home to Microsoft's headquarters. "While there has been an increase in cases in specific regions of some countries like South Korea and Italy, global health authorities have communicated to us that the risk to the general public outside of Mainland China and those specific affected regions is presently low," DelBene wrote. "The health and safety of our employees is our top priority at Microsoft. We are providing real-time guidance to employees in all affected regions," a Microsoft spokesperson said. "We will continue to monitor the situation and take action as necessary to help protect employees." Some employees have expressed concerns that Microsoft's response is insufficient. Two employees who spoke to Business Insider and wished to remain anonymous said the company's response is "disappointing" and doesn't measure up to the steps taken by other companies. Salesforce, for example, has paused nonessential travel for its 50,000 employees. Meanwhile, other employees discussed on Twitter whether it's appropriate to leave the decision about whether or not it's appropriate to travel up to managers rather than employees. DelBene in the email also discussed Microsoft's decision to cancel events. Microsoft on Monday also announced it would make the company's Most Valuable Professional Summit online-only. "Global health authorities have not issued guidance to cancel events," DelBene wrote in the email. "At Microsoft, we are looking very thoughtfully at our event calendar, and in some cases shifting to digital-only experiences. Ultimately, the final decision to cancel, remain, or reduce our presence at events rests with the business owner of each event. Guidance has been prepared to inform these decision makers."Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: A 45-year-long study discovered trends in successful hyper-intelligent children
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In a note to customers, Microsoft admitted that it struggled with cloud issues during the coronavirus crisis and vowed to fix them (MSFT)
In a note to customer published on Thursday, Microsoft acknowledge struggles with its cloud business The...In a note to customer published on Thursday, Microsoft acknowledge struggles with its cloud business The company said a surge in users during the coronavirus crisis created capacity issues. The pandemic is a big test for Microsoft's cloud business as it tries to upend the market-leading Amazon Web Services, which has said it has experienced no outages during the crisis. Click here to read more BI Prime stories. In a note to customers published on Thursday, Microsoft admitted that its Azure cloud business struggled with capacity issues related to the coronavirus crisis and said it's taking steps to make sure it can meet demand. "All of Microsoft's cloud services including Teams and other Microsoft 365 products, Dynamics 365 and Azure were put to the test during these unprecedented and uncertain times," Microsoft said in the note. "We are incredibly proud to be serving our customers, like those mentioned above, through this time and we also acknowledge that it hasn't all been without issue. We look to continuously improve our design and operations to account for all circumstances." The pandemic has been a big test for Microsoft's cloud business as it tries to upend the market-leading Amazon Web Services, which has said it has experienced no outages during the crisis. Last month, Microsoft said that the demand for its Teams communications app "crossed into unprecedented territory," and it placed temporary restrictions on new Azure subscriptions. Those restrictions allowed the company to meet its current obligations to existing Azure customers and prioritize new customers that are first responders in the coronavirus crisis, Microsoft said. The company said in March that it would prioritize "first responders, health and emergency management services, critical government infrastructure organizational use, and ensuring remote workers stay up and running with the core functionality of Teams." While Microsoft hasn't publicly released its criteria for first responders, a customer who spoke to Business Insider said their company received its designation through its Microsoft customer service representative. Once the customer's company was designated as a first responder, it could receive new computing resources after less than a 48-hour wait, resources which are blocked for customers without the designation. Microsoft declined to comment on this information. In addition to prioritizing first responders, Microsoft also said in its Thursday note that it took other steps to manage the increased demands, including making improvements to Teams, expediting additional server capacity to data center regions that faced constraints, and approving a backlog of customer quota requests. The company also said it's redefining its Azure demand models to get a better handle on future global events that create simultaneous surges in demand. Thursday's note also said that Microsoft had reversed some of its limits on free offers, removing restrictions for new free and benefit subscriptions in "several regions." Are you a Microsoft employee or customer? Contact this reporter via email at email@example.com, message her on Twitter @ashannstew, or send her a secure message through Signal at 425-344-8242.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: A cleaning expert reveals her 3-step method for cleaning your entire home quickly
Amazon employees say a worker tested positive for novel coronavirus at Amazon warehouse where photo appears to show lack of social distancing
The news of a positive COVID-19 case at the Amazon fulfillment center in Jeffersonville, Indiana, was...The news of a positive COVID-19 case at the Amazon fulfillment center in Jeffersonville, Indiana, was announced to employees in a voicemail obtained by Business Insider. Amazon confirmed the case. Business Insider previously reported about a photo sent by an employee at this same processing center. The photo appears to show managers at this facility not abiding by social-distancing guidelines, the employee, who wishes to stay anonymous due to fear of retribution, claims. Amazon said it would investigate the claim. The company said that beginning April 3, it will start checking employees at the site for signs of fever. "We are supporting the individual who is recovering," Timothy Carter, an Amazon spokesperson, said in an email to Business Insider. "We are following guidelines from health officials and medical experts, and are taking extreme measures to ensure the safety of employees at our site." Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. A worker at an Amazon warehouse has tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, according to a voice message sent to employees and obtained by Business Insider. Amazon confirmed the case. The case happened at a processing center in Jeffersonville, Indiana, where Business Insider reported on Wednesday about a photo sent by a worker at the facility, who wishes to stay anonymous out of fear of retribution. The photo appears to show managers huddled closely around a table, the employee claims, despite social distancing recommendations to stay six feet apart. Amazon said it would investigate the claim. "This is your GM ... calling to provide an update: Today we learned of a confirmed case of COVID-19 at SDF8," states a voice message sent to employees Thursday evening, referencing the internal code for the warehouse. In the voice message, workers were told that "the affected individual was last on-site on March the 26th." "We are following the CDC's guidance and will inform any coworkers who may have been in close contact with the affected individual," the message states, asserting that the risk to other employees is minimal. "We have taken a number of measures to keep all of us safe and healthy, including mandatory social distancing," the message states, adding that the company will now begin conducting temperature checks for all employees, as of April 3. In a statement to Business Insider, Timothy Carter, an Amazon spokesperson, said, "We are supporting the individual who is recovering. We are following guidelines from health officials and medical experts, and are taking extreme measures to ensure the safety of employees at our site." Amazon said they will notify employees who were in close proximity to the worker who tested positive, and they will be put on a 14-day self-quarantine. Those who test positive or are put on quarantine will receive up to two weeks of pay. Have a news tip? Email this reporter: firstname.lastname@example.orgJoin the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Hugh Hefner's Playboy empire became an iconic part of pop culture, but struggled to keep up. Here's what led to the company's rise and fall.
Its executives, with headquarters just a few miles from one of the country’s worst coronavirus outbreaks,...Its executives, with headquarters just a few miles from one of the country’s worst coronavirus outbreaks, were among the first to confront the impact.