Alphabet Inc.’s Google is providing its employees with more flexible working locations. The employees can choose to work from different locations or entirely from home, taking a more lenient policy as Google prepares for a return to office life after the pandemic.
Sundar Pichai, Google Chief Executive Officer, outlined the plan to staff in a note on Wednesday morning. The influential Silicon Valley giant has slowly opened its offices but said its employees can work remotely until September. Google has made rearrangements to offices to create more features for what it calls a “hybrid” return to work.
In the email, Pichai said he expects about 60% of Google’s staff will work in the office “a few days a week.” Another 20% will be able to relocate to other company sites, while the remaining 20% can apply to permanently work from home. Google’s parent company, Alphabet, was just shy of 140,000 direct employees at the end of the first quarter.
Google also will offer additional “reset” days to help employees recharge during this second year of the pandemic, with May 28 as the next global day off.
Back in early March 2020, a day before the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic, Google was one of the first major U.S. companies to advise its North American employees to work from home, if their roles allowed it. This past March, some U.S. offices allowed employees to come in on a voluntary basis. According to CRN, “its U.S. offices…would start reopening in a limited capacity based on specific criteria that included increases in COVID-19 vaccine availability and downward trends in COVID-19 cases.”
Google is not requiring vaccinations for employees to return to in-office work, but is “strongly encouraging it,” a spokesperson said last month.
In a filing, Google reported that it saved $268 million in expenses from company promotions, travel, and entertainment during the first quarter of the year, according to Bloomberg.