In a move that will set precedence in the coming days, tech giant Google is planning to reopen offices from July 6 for a limited number of employees. In addition, Google has also announced an allowance of $1,000 for those employees who would continue to work from home to meet expenses incurred on the work-front. "Because we still expect that most Googlers will be largely working from home for the rest of this year, we’ll be giving each Googler an allowance of $1,000, or the equivalent value in your country, to expense necessary equipment and office furniture," Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in an email to his employees on Tuesday.
While working remotely has become a norm in the post-COVID world, so far, employees across companies have been spending from their own pockets towards meeting standard equipment or set-up requirements. Google's move will set a trend for companies to share the financial burden of its employees while working from home.
Further, Pichai said that returning to work will be optional for the rest of the year. Those who need to come in will be able to on a rotating basis—one day every couple weeks, Pichai said on Tuesday. "For everyone else, returning to the office will be voluntary through the end of the year, and we encourage you to continue to work from home if you can," Pichai said in his mail.
The plan is to have an office capacity of roughly 10 per cent in July and gradually raise it to 30 per cent, if conditions permit, by September. Those who need to mark their presence in offices will be notified by June 10.
However, Pichai indicated that for the long term, Google will be exploring remote working options even after the pandemic lifts. "Moving ahead, we are looking to develop more overall flexibility in how we work," he said.
Google has become the latest tech company, after Facebook, Twitter and Shopify, to join the bandwagon of a league of firms mulling a permanent shift to remote working policies.