Microsoft has closed down its physical store locations across the world permanently, a sign that remote work is gaining attraction from big companies as the next frontier for the future of work. With the announcement, Microsoft’s two retail shops in Nigeria and elsewhere in the world will be shut down.
Andela, a software engineering talent provider with significant talent exposure in Nigeria and other countries in Africa is one of the companies that recently announced it was going on full remote work mode and would be selling off its assets in Nigeria and other places.
For Microsoft, it had on Friday, 26 June described the move as a strategic change in its retail operations. The change means Microsoft’s retail team members will continue to serve customers from the company’s corporate facilities and remotely providing sales, training, and support. Microsoft also plans to invest in its digital storefronts on Microsoft.com, and stores in Xbox and Windows, reaching more than 1.2 billion people every month in 190 markets.
“Our sales have grown online as our product portfolio has evolved to largely digital offerings, and our talented team has proven success serving customers beyond any physical location,” David Porter, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft said in a statement on its website. “We are grateful to our Microsoft Store customers and we look forward to continuing to serve them online and with our retail sales team at Microsoft corporate locations.”
Prior to the announcement, Microsoft had maintained several retail shops in Nigeria. But a check by BusinessDay showed that the stores are no longer functional and customers are being directed to use the online channels.
According to the company, it had been planning for the closures since March by also helping small businesses and education customers digitally transform, virtually trained hundreds of thousands of enterprise and education customers on remote work and learning software, and helped customers with support calls. The team supported communities by hosting more than 14,000 online workshops and summer camps and more than 3,000 virtual graduations.
We deliberately built teams with unique backgrounds and skills that could serve customers from anywhere,” said Porter. “The evolution of our workforce ensured we could continue to serve customers of all sizes when they needed us most, working remotely these last months. Speaking over 120 languages, their diversity reflects the many communities we serve. Our commitment to growing and developing careers from this talent pool is stronger than ever.”
On the list of big companies going full remote is Facebook which announced in May that more than 50 percent of its staff will likely be working from home in the next ten years. Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey also said the staff of the social media company will be allowed to work from home permanently, even after the COVID-19 pandemic reduces. Other companies include Lambda School; Shopify; Coinbase; Square; Upwork; Otis and AWeber.