Google Wants Workers to Continue WFH
ZFX – Google will not require its employees to return to the office on January 10 as expected, according to an email sent to employees Thursday and seen by CNBC.
The company’s VP of Security, Chris Rackow, wrote in an email to full-time employees that they will wait until the new year to assess when the US office can safely return to a “stable, long-term work environment.” Neither of the US locations will adopt a hybrid employment mandate on January 10 as planned, the email said.
The new guidance comes after several previous delays and because most company employees are expected to return to the physical office three days a week. It also comes as a small but growing proportion of company employees fight against the company’s vaccine mandate.
Health officials in the US and around the world say they are concerned that the new variant of Covid-19 Omicron, which has about 50 mutations, is proving to be more infectious than the previous strain and evades vaccine protection to some degree.
Rackow’s email said Google would allow certain locations to decide on their schedule for returning their respective local workforce to the office. Google’s “Local Incident Response Team” will also help determine each office’s “risk level,” he said.
Rackow said that while employees are no longer required to return January 10, the company is still encouraging employees to keep coming “where conditions allow, to reconnect with coworkers in person and start regaining the muscle memory of being in the office more regularly. The company will provide all full-time employees who need a 30-day period to transition to a hybrid schedule, the note said.
“We will relearn the rhythm of our work together in 2022, which brings new opportunities and new challenges as we experiment with more flexible ways of working,” he said.
He went on to say that the company has so far opened 90% of its US offices and, in recent weeks, nearly 40% of US employees have signed in.
While Rackow’s email did not mention the latest COVID-19 variant, Google has reportedly informed its employees in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa that it will be delaying back-to-office plans for those locations as new variants and travel restrictions continue to create uncertainty. .
In a statement to CNBC, a company spokesperson said Google previously listed January 10 as the earliest date for a possible return and reiterated that it had safely opened more than 90% of its US offices. “We will continue to determine when offices reopen and start a hybrid workweek based on local conditions, which are dynamic and vary widely across locations.”
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