Google prefers that employees work in an office as part of a long-held belief that physical interactions spur new ideas and solutions. As such, it planned on a “flexible workweek” after COVID-19 passed, but some were upset, and Google has reversed course to provide an option for permanent work from home (WFH).
CEO Sundar Pichai announced the change this morning in a mass email (via Bloomberg). Employees were previously expected to return to offices as part of a hybrid schedule that sees them spend at least three “collaboration days” on campus. That will remain the case for an expected 60% of staff, with Alphabet having 140,000 employees as of Q1 2021.
However, some Googlers were upset by the inability to work remotely full-time after the last year and following many other tech companies. As such, 20% of Google employees will now be able to apply to WFH permanently. The remaining fifth will be able to relocate to other locations, with both groups seeing salary adjustments.
Meanwhile, Ina Fried of Axios reported that all employees can work from a different location for up to four weeks every year.
This change comes as Google last week detailed how its post-pandemic offices will look and work. The most ambitious plan involves “Team Pods” with movable furniture and inflatable walls that can provide privacy. There’s also a “Campfire” conference room concept to bring virtual and physical participants together.
Other changes include open-air tents set up on lawns and parking lots, as well as boxed meals compared to the previous-buffet style approach. A tenth of Google offices worldwide will be revamped over the next year.
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