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Google Unveils More Flexible Remote Work Policy

The technology giant expects 20 percent of employees will work from home under the new hybrid work model.

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Google expects its future lies in a hybrid work model under which some 60 percent of Googlers will spend a few days per week in the office, 20 percent will work in new office locations and another 20 percent will work from home.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based technology giant’s more flexible stance on remote work was announced as the company shared CEO Sundar Pichai’s vision for its post-coronavirus-pandemic hybrid workplace with employees.

Google’s latest hybrid work model is expected to continue to evolve over time given the wide scope of its business, with changes decided at the product and function levels, according to a Google spokesperson, but employees can continue working remotely through this September.

In December, Google had said it would move to a hybrid work week, with most employees working about three days per week in the office and two days wherever they chose.

The majority of Googlers still want to work at Google campuses part of the time, according to the spokesperson, and many also would like to continue working from home a few days a week, spend time in other cities for parts of the year or move to another city permanently.

The latest policy accommodates those possibilities, the spokesperson said.

Google is building new types of reconfigurable indoor and outdoor collaboration spaces, and it’s working to improve technology tools such as Google Workspace that allow employees to contribute equally to the company.

Product area and function leaders will develop work location policies based on their needs and employee roles, and employees will get opportunities to transfer to other Google global offices or move to permanent remote work away from their teams or offices. Googlers now will be able to work temporarily from a location other than their main office for up to four weeks per year, an increase from the previous two weeks.

Google also will offer additional “reset” days to help employees recharge during the pandemic this year, with May 28 as the next global day off.

Google was one of the first major U.S. companies to advise its North American employees to work from home, if their roles allowed, back in early March 2020, a day before the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic. This past March, it said it expected to start welcoming back employees to some of its U.S. offices on a voluntary basis. Its U.S. offices, it said, would start reopening in a limited capacity based on specific criteria that included increases in COVID-19 vaccine availability and downward trends in COVID-19 cases.

Google is not requiring vaccinations for employees to return to in-office work, but is “strongly encouraging it,” a spokesperson said last month.

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