Google relaxes distant work plan, will let 20% of staff telecommute

Google CEO Sundar Pichai


Google announced on Wednesday that 20% of its employees will be working from home after the offices reopen later this year.

The company, which owns extensive real estate in Silicon Valley, had previously taken a stricter approach to getting back to work as the Covid pandemic forced companies to close offices and employ workers remotely. Now that some tech workers are seeing other employers offer more flexibility, Google is loosening its approach.

In December, the company announced a plan for employees to spend three days a week in the office.

Now Google expects that 60% of its employees will be on site a few days a week, with 20% working in new office locations and 20% from home, Google CEO Sundar Pichai wrote in an email to the employees and found that most employees want to be on campus at times.

“Before the pandemic, we had thousands of people working in locations that were separate from their core teams. I expect that number will increase in the coming months as we develop more remote roles, including completely removed subteams,” wrote Pichai.

In June, Google will tell employees more about how to permanently work from home or from different offices, Pichai wrote. The company will adjust employee pay in both scenarios.

Every Google employee can now temporarily work for four weeks a year in a different location than their assigned office. This corresponds to an increase of two weeks, wrote Pichai. Some employees may need to be in their facilities for more than three days a week due to their roles, he wrote.

Employees can continue working from home until September, a CNBC spokesman told CNBC in an email.

Google’s temps, vendors and contractors – nearly half of the company’s workforce as of 2018, according to the Guardian – are likely to be in the office on the same days as their teams, the spokesman wrote.

Several smaller companies, including Atlassian and Square, have agreed to have most of their employees work from home.

CLOCK: According to Oppenheimer analyst, Google is “hardest hit by a reopening”.

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