Microsoft executive: Employees slept in data centers to avoid pandemic lockdown

Microsoft executive: Employees slept in data centers to avoid pandemic lockdown
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A Microsoft executive has revealed that some company employees slept in data centers during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to avoid getting stuck in lockdowns.

“I heard amazing stories about people actually sleeping in data centers,” Kristen Roby Dimlow, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for total rewards, performance and human resources business insights, said last week, according to CNBC.

“In certain countries there was huge lockdown, and so we would have our own employees choose to sleep in the data center because they were worried they’d get stuck at a roadblock, trying to go home,” she added.

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A number of technology companies ordered their employees to work from home amid the pandemic, CNBC noted, but some staff members had to report in person.

For Microsoft, that included people who worked at locations with servers for online services like Microsoft Teams and public-cloud infrastructure that helped run third-party customers’ applications, according to the business news network.

Data centers, according to the business news channel, are not typically conducive to sleeping. Sometimes aisles are hot, as a result of air coming off of servers, and other times they can be cold because of the air conditioning that runs to prevent the equipment from overheating.

A Microsoft spokesperson would not reveal to CNBC where the employees slept, or how many staff members did so.

In April, a Microsoft official told CNBC that it changed operations in data centers because of the pandemic, including giving employees the option to work from home or stay in a hotel, and offered transportation to and from the data centers.

Microsoft announced in March that it was beginning to reopen its headquarters in Redmond, Wash. Nonessential on-site workers, however, were still given the option to work from the office, from home or a hybrid of both.