A colourful Google sign in one of its offices.
Google offices in Ontario, Canada. Image: © JHVEPhoto/Stock.adobe.com

Google to introduce hybrid work weeks for staff

6 May 2021

Google boss Sundar Pichai says the new hybrid model will see 20pc of employees working from home full-time.

Employees at Google can expect greater flexibility and hybrid work weeks when they return to the office. The company’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, sent an email to all staff yesterday (5 May) promising them more choice around when and where they work after the pandemic.

Last December, Pichai extended the company’s remote working policy to at least September 2021. Now, as the return to the office gets closer, Pichai has revealed plans for reset days, work-from-anywhere weeks and more.

In yesterday’s email, he said that in locations where Google offices have been able to reopen on a voluntary basis, 60pc of staff members had chosen to come back into the office.

“For more than 20 years, our employees have been coming to the office to solve interesting problems – in a cafe, around a whiteboard or during a pick-up game of beach volleyball or cricket,” Pichai said. “Our campuses have been at the heart of our Google community and the majority of our employees still want to be on campus some of the time.

“Yet many of us would also enjoy the flexibility of working from home a couple days of week, spending time in another city for part of the year, or even moving there permanently. Google’s future workplace will have room for all of these possibilities.”

‘The future of work is flexibility’

To make these new policies a reality, Google is testing multi-purpose workspaces and technologies. For example, Pichai said the company is working to develop advanced video technology that “creates greater equity between employees in the office and those joining virtually”. An outdoor space called Camp Charleston is also being tested for large team gatherings.

Under the more flexible model, Pichai said the company will move to a “hybrid work week” where the majority of staff will spend three days in the office and two days “wherever they work best”.

Employees will also be able to apply to work in another Google location by mid-June and this will be granted if the right infrastructure is in place and the worker’s goals can still be met. As well as moving locations, employees will get to apply for full-time remote work.

“Before the pandemic, we had thousands of people working in locations separate from their core teams,” Pichai said. “I fully expect those numbers to increase in the coming months as we develop more remote roles, including fully all-remote sub-teams.”

He added that employees’ compensation will be adjusted according to their new location.

For those who don’t want to work remotely or in another location forever, they will have the option to temporarily work somewhere other than their main office for up to four weeks a year.

“Taken together, these changes will result in a workforce where around 60pc of Googlers are coming together in the office a few days a week, another 20pc are working in new office locations and 20pc are working from home.”

Pichai added that employees can expect more details on the company’s plans by mid-June. “The future of work is flexibility,” he said. “The changes above are a starting point to help us do our very best work and have fun doing it.”

Lisa Ardill
By Lisa Ardill

Lisa Ardill joined Silicon Republic as senior careers reporter in July 2019. She has a BA in neuroscience and a master’s degree in science communication. She is also a semi-published poet and a big fan of doggos. Lisa briefly served as Careers Editor at Silicon Republic before leaving the company in June 2021.

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