Reducing Microsoft Costs for Furloughed Workers

Tuesday 28th April 2020

If your organisation is making use of the Government Job Retention Scheme and has Furloughed employees, you may be able to save money by downgrading Office and Microsoft 365 subscriptions or removing them entirely. We know licensing is tricky, so we are here to help if you need us.

Furloughed Workers

It is possible to remove a user entirely, retain their data and bring it back to life once they return to work. Here’s what to consider:

  • Only people who have Office 365 global admin or User management permissions for the business or school can delete user accounts
  • You have 30 days to restore the account before the user's data is permanently deleted
  • If you want to keep the user's OneDrive data, move it to a different location. You can even do this up to 30 days after deleting the account. See Get access to and back up a former user's data. You don't need to move their SharePoint files; you'll still have access to them
  • If you want to keep the user's Exchange Online email, BEFORE you delete the account, move the email to a different location. If you've already deleted the account: if it's been less than 30 days you can restore it, then move the email data, then delete the account. See Get access to and back up a former user's data
  • If you have an enterprise subscription like Office 365 Enterprise E3, you can preserve the mailbox data of a deleted Office 365 user account by turning it into an inactive mailbox. To learn more, see Manage inactive mailboxes in Exchange Online

To learn more please see Delete a user from your organisation.

Microsoft options by agreement type:

Enterprise Agreement

As an Enterprise Agreement customer you will have pre-paid for the year, so unfortunately reductions of quantities or downgrades are not possible until you reach your next agreement anniversary. On-premises perpetual licenses cannot be reduced until the end of the agreement term – Enterprise Subscription Agreements do allow for an annual reduction as long as the software is no longer in use. If you have an Online Services only Enterprise Agreement then you can reduce licenses down to a minimum of 500 users. You should understand the implications of reducing a subscription to a less suite or removing the licence altogether to avoid a loss of data.

To support customers in severely affected industries (Retail, Travel and Hospitality etc.) Bytes have worked with Microsoft to provide deferral of invoices (new agreements, standard annual payments, True Ups, Azure usage etc.) or spread payments. If you are in need of support please contact your Bytes Account Manager.

Cloud Solutions Provider program (CSP)

As a CSP customer you have a lot more flexibility as it is possible to amend the quantity of licenses, or downgrade them, on a daily basis. However, data retention concerns must first be addressed. For example, if you move a user from an Office 365 E3 licence to Business Premium you would need to note the following limitations:

  • No litigation hold
  • Mailbox on BP is 50GB vs 100GB for E3. Excess data could be lost
  • No archive. Data would be lost if not backed up first
  • Office does not include Publisher and Access
  • You will need to re-install Office
  • There are no on-premises access rights with Business Premium
  • Business Premium has a technical cap of 300 users on the tenant

Understanding user requirements

Our Quantum 365 service can help you see your whole desktop estate:   

  • Process and support for JML (joiners, movers and leavers)
  • Current license agreements with license cost and additional products
  • 3 year view of the licenses you've bought, allocated and used
  • Ongoing usage analysis
  • Spend forecasts and cost savings
  • Premium license allocations and usage
  • Detailed Office 365 apps and user activity information

More information on our Quantum 365 Service.

Trial Offers

Office 365 E1 Trial

This trial provides access to full Office 365 E1 suite, including Microsoft Teams, for 6 months free of charge for up to 3,000 users. To learn what's available with an E1 license, read Office 365 E1. Bytes can help you deploy the services included within the E1 suite through our FastTrack Service.

Microsoft Power Platform Free Six-Month Product Offer

To empower organisations to take advantage of Microsoft's Power Platform and Dynamics 365 solutions, Microsoft are making Power Apps, Power Automate, Power Apps portals and Power Virtual Agents available for a free six-month product offer, that includes all premium capabilities for customers in the healthcare, education, non-profit, and government sectors.

See the full list of Microsoft Offers available


For immediate advice on all of the above, please contact the team on 01372 418500 or email and one of our 130 licensing specialists will contact you.

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