Google and Facebook extend work-from-home policies to 2021

11 May 20206.78k Views

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Google's office at Mountain View, California. Image: © bennymarty/Stock.adobe.com

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While Facebook and Google plan to get ‘critical’ workers back on site in the coming weeks, the majority of employees are expected to work remotely until the end of 2020.

While Elon Musk is eager to see Tesla employees return to work as soon as possible, Facebook and Google have said they expect most of their employees to work from home for the remainder of 2020.

According to Bloomberg, Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai told employees on Thursday (7 May) that they should be prepared to work remotely through October and possibly until the end of the year. The Google boss said that there will be certain moments or occasions where employees can come into the office.

Pichai also told all Google employees to take Friday 22 May as an official day off to decompress, citing concerns about burnout. “Take the time to do whatever you need to do to prioritise your wellbeing,” he said.

Some Google offices will reopen in June, allowing 10pc to 15pc of workers to return, Pichai added. At the moment, only 5pc of employees are working on site.

In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Jacquelline Fuller, head of Google.org, said: “If we can work remotely, if we can work from home, and help take some of the pressure off and flatten the curve, we will do that. We will be using science to guide us in our decision making.”

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In early March, Google began urging its 8,000 staff in Ireland to work from home, before Government distancing measures were officially introduced.

Facebook’s plan

Facebook made a similar announcement last week, stating that its offices will start to reopen in July but most employees will be able to work from home until the end of the year.

Last month, Facebook joined Microsoft in calling off all large in-person events until next year. While doing so, the company said that it is planning for how and when it can bring certain employees back to their offices.

The social media company said that it would prioritise the return of “critical” employees who can’t work remotely. This includes content reviewers who work in the areas of counter-terrorism, self-harm and suicide prevention, as well as engineers working on complex hardware.

Facebook went on to say that there were a number of factors involved in the decision of when to reopen offices or allow non-critical workers to return to offices, including information from public health agencies and government guidance.

The company has given full-time employees $1,000 bonuses to help cover childcare costs and any unexpected expenses that come with remote working.

Kelly Earley is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com