What you need to know
- Google has no plans to require all its employees to return to offices anytime soon.
- Instead, it will continue its flexible work model that started as a result of the pandemic.
- It now expects employees to return to offices starting from September 2021.
Like other tech companies around the world, Google transitioned into a work from home model after the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic became clear.
As the pandemic moves into its final stages with the introduction of vaccines, the company is also revising its estimates for when workers would be able to return to work.
Now, Sundar Pichai expects staff to be able to return from September 2021 (via the New York Times). But a return to the office doesn't mean a return to pre-2020 work models, Google wants to test a new hybrid work model where workers don't have to be in the office all the time. Rather, they can work from home most of the time with the exception of three days a week where they come in to work with others, dubbed collaboration days.
Writing in an email, Pichai said:
We are testing a hypothesis that a flexible work model will lead to greater productivity, collaboration, and well-being. No company at our scale has ever created a fully hybrid work force model — though a few are starting to test it — so it will be interesting to try.
Remote work has seen a rise in popularity in 2020 — primarily due to necessity. Google was one of the first companies to quickly pivot towards remote work, and one of the few with its own tools that engender collaboration at a distance. With the benefits of the new format becoming clear, it's natural that some employees would want to keep working remotely if they could.
Other companies like Facebook have made similar announcements, though it has also tied pay to location, meaning that some may face pay cuts if they take up the option.