In a blog post, Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai gave an overview of the company’s plan to return its workforce to some semblance of normalcy — or at least a new normal.
Google will begin opening some of its office buildings in various cities starting on July 6, allowing a small amount of its employees who need a physical workspace “the opportunity to return on a limited, rotating basis.” The idea is to rotate employees in for a day every few weeks to keep facilities at only around 10% occupancy.
If all goes well in its initial efforts, Google will scale that 10% up to 30% around September “which would mean most people who want to come in could do so on a limited basis, while still prioritizing those who need to come in,” according to Pichai.
In contrast with bold shifts to all-remote work from companies like Facebook and Twitter, Google’s top executive eschewed sweeping statements about the future of its workforce in favor of encouraging employees who are interested in relocating to speak with their managers and to review guidelines around taxes and health coverage.
Pichai predicted that Googlers will have “more flexibility and choice” in how they work, while still waxing nostalgic about the company’s iconic office complexes, long a symbol of what makes work in the tech sector distinct from more traditional jobs.
“Our campuses are designed to enable collaboration and community — in fact, some of our greatest innovations were the result of chance encounters in the office — and it’s clear this is something many of us don’t want to lose,” Pichai wrote.
“At the same time, we are very familiar with distributed work as we have many offices around the world and open-minded about the lessons we’ll learn through this period.”
Pichai still expects that the majority of Google’s workforce will be mostly working from home through 2020. To help Googlers adapt to the different needs of a home office, the company will allocate $1,000 in expenses to help employees buy furniture and home office equipment.
As a portion of employees do return to the office, Pichai warned that the company’s physical spaces will “will look and feel different than when you left” as Google implements necessary precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.