Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 27 October 2020

FUTURE

Google mulls hybrid model as 62% of employees do not want to permanently work from office

Only 8% of staff said they would want to come to the office everyday

Sundar Pichai, chief executive of Google, says he does not see the future of work being 100 per cent remote. Getty
Sundar Pichai, chief executive of Google, says he does not see the future of work being 100 per cent remote. Getty

Google is working on a “hybrid” work model after an internal survey showed a majority of its employees do not want to return to the office full-time.

More than six in 10 employees said they want to return to the office at some point but not everyday.

“We value our offices, we value the culture … but we do think that we need to create more flexibility and more hybrid models,” chief executive Sundar Pichai said in a video interview with Time magazine.

Only 8 per cent of Google’s employees said they want to come to the office everyday, while 10 per cent want to work from home permanently, the company said.

Face-to-face meetings and socialising with other team members were some of the reasons given by employees who opted to work from office.

“I see the future definitely being more flexible [but] we don’t think that future will be 100 per cent remote,” said Mr Pichai.

“We firmly believe that in-person, being together and having a sense of community [are] super important, whenever you have to solve hard problems and create something new … we don’t see that changing,” he added.

Alphabet-owned Google, which earlier said its employees can work from home till January 2021 to stem the spread of Covid-19 virus, later extended it to June 30 next year.

“Google was one of the first companies to have the view that workplace could be fun. We have the same philosophy but now we are thinking in context of the Covid-19,” said Mr Pichai.

“When it started, I realised this is going to be a period of tremendous uncertainties ... so we wanted to lean in and give certainty wherever we could. We made decision to work from home [as] we realised that people are trying hard to plan and it is affecting productivity,” he added.

In May, the company said it will reopen most of its global offices on July 6 for employees who are keen to return to the workplace. But it was postponed due to a recent surge in the number of coronavirus cases.

Google is currently investing heavily in expanding its offices in San Jose, New York and at the company’s sprawling headquarters in Mountain View.

Workers wear hazmat suits during construction of a building at the Google campus in Mountain View. Bloomberg
Workers wear hazmat suits during construction of a building at the Google campus in Mountain View. Bloomberg

Mr Pichai said the new emphasis on remote working will not affect those ongoing projects.

Global tech companies are considering a staggered return to work in an effort to resume office operations safely in the absence of a vaccine.

Facebook and Twitter have already given their employees an option to work from home permanently. Apple, however, is bringing staff back to its stores in different phases after it shut down its retail operations amid the outbreak.

Updated: September 24, 2020 04:32 PM

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