Google U-turns on remote work telling staff to return to the office

Google tells employees that have not received approval to work from home they will have to spend at least three days a week in the office

clock • 3 min read
Google U-turns on remote work telling staff to return to the office

Google this week made it clear the tech giant wants its employees to come back to the office.

Google, which in early 2020 was one of the first large tech companies to allow its employees to voluntarily work from home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, is now looking for its employees to return to the office at least part time.

As first reported by CNBC, Google Wednesday updated its hybrid work policy by requiring most employees to physically come to the company's offices at least three days a week.

The vendor is also tracking attendance via office badges, and including office attendance as part of its employee reviews, CNBC reported.

With the move, Google becomes the latest tech company to push its work-from-home employees to return to the office for at least three days a week.

The updated hybrid work policy was sent in an internal memo to Google employees via email.

As part of its updated hybrid work policy, Google is also requesting those employees who previously had approval to work from home to reconsider coming to the office on a hybrid work schedule to be better connected to the Google community, CNBC reported.

The news outlet added that those employees who were pre-approved to work from home full time may find that approval rescinded.

Google did not reply to a CRN request for information by press time.

The Verge posted part of the Google internal memo which read, "We know that a number of people moved to fully remote work for many good reasons, as we all adjusted to the pandemic. For those who are remote and who live near a Google office, we hope you'll consider switching to a hybrid work schedule. Our offices are where you'll be most connected to Google's community. Going forward, we'll consider new remote work requests by exception only."

Google's hybrid work policy has changed since the beginning of the pandemic.

In March of 2021, Google welcomed employees to return to the office, and said it will continue taking a "phased and deliberate" approach to safely bringing back more people to the office where it can.

Two months later, it said it expects 60 per cent of Googlers will spend a few days per week in the office, 20 per cent will work in new office locations and another 20 per cent will work from home.

Google in August of 2021 extended its work from home offerings into 2022, and promised employees a 30-day heads-up before requiring them to return to the office.

April last year it officially re-opened its US offices and asked employees in several locations in the region to return to the office at least three days per week.

Vendors pushing return to office

Google isn't alone in trying to bring its work-from-home employees back to the office.

Amazon in February told its employees they had to work from the office at least three days each week, a move that prompted Amazon employees to sign a petition asking the company to "uphold Amazon's mission to be Earth's Best Employer by creating working policies that increase equity and inclusion for all employees."

Dell Vice chairman and co-chief operating officer Jeff Clarke in May told its employees to return to the office at least three days a week despite company chairman Michael Dell's complaint last September that chided CEOs for forcing employees to return to the office.

Dell at the time wrote, "If you are counting on forced hours spent in a traditional office to create collaboration and provide a feeling of belonging within your organization, you're doing it wrong."

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