June 15, 2021

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Teleworking: Google switches to a “hybrid” operating mode

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Telecommuting continues to hear its grip on the tech world. Twitter, Facebook, and now Google, allow some of their employees to work from home for life. In an email sent to his teams on Wednesday, Sundar Pichai, Alphabet’s general manager, announced that he expected 20% of his 200,000 employees in the United States, Europe, Brazil and India, never come back to the office.

At least as many will be able to move to other company sites, he also said. This possibility could be of particular interest to the 140,000 employees at the headquarters in Mountain View, California, Google having offices in more than 19 US states.

No return until September

The technological giant thus confirms its desire to switch to a “hybrid” operating mode at the end of the pandemic, while offering more flexibility to its staff. At the end of July 2020, the Mountain View giant was already one of the first American companies to extend teleworking so much. The firm did not plan to return to the site before the summer of 2021. In December, Sundar Pichai had told his employees to postpone this date to September 1.

Since then, the return to work has slowly begun. But it is a question of returning to the “world before”. When consulted, most employees say they want to return to the office after the pandemic, but not full time, CNBC reported in December. Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai now expects around 60% of Google’s staff to work in the office “a few days a week.” Employees would spend about three days in the office. The rest of the week, they would be free to choose whether to work from home, or wherever “they work best,” says Sundar Pichai.

Adapted remuneration

Google employees will also be offered the opportunity to telecommute, from the location of their choice, for four weeks per year. This initiative will in particular facilitate the organization of vacations for employees. The remuneration of each will be adapted according to the chosen scenario, indicates Sundar Pichai. An application process for staff wishing to change office will be presented in mid-June.

The flexibility adopted by the tech sector is an exception. It contrasts particularly with the attitude adopted by the big banks, underlines the “Wall Street Journal”. Wells Fargo & Co. and JPMorgan, expect most of their workforce to return to the office after the pandemic.

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