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Google lays out office reopening plans, benefits for WFH employees

Earlier this month, Sundar Pichai laid out how Googlers would slowly return to the office over the course of 2020, but that most employees would continue working from home. A more detailed road map for Google office reopening was provided today, while measures for those working from home were also announced.

The CEO reiterated how Google is “taking slow, deliberate steps to begin reopening offices in areas where they still remain largely closed.”

Depending on “external conditions,” Google will “start to open more buildings in more cities” on July 6. Safety protocols will be in place, with the company hoping to be “fair in the way we allocate time in the office” given some people’s preference and desire to work from the office.

This will give Googlers who need to come back to the office — or, capacity permitting, who want to come back — the opportunity to return on a limited, rotating basis (think: one day every couple of weeks, so roughly 10% building occupancy). We’ll have rigorous health and safety measures in place to ensure social distancing and sanitization guidelines are followed, so the office will look and feel different than when you left.

In September, Google will “further scale the rotation program, building over time to 30% capacity.” At this point, the company expects that “most people who want to come in could do so on a limited basis.”

Overall, Pichai encourages most employees to work from home and states that “returning to the office will be voluntary through the end of the year.” Those Googlers will be given a $1,000 allowance to “expense necessary equipment and office furniture.”

The company also announced an experiment to virtualize in-office experiences focused on health, wellness, and fun. This includes: fitness with gFit instructors, cooking and nutrition lessons from Google chefs, and Kids@Home Storytime.

Compared to Facebook, Google is still not rushing to transition to remote work:

Our campuses are designed to enable collaboration and community — in fact, some of our greatest innovations were the result of chance encounters in the office — and it’s clear this is something many of us don’t want to lose. At the same time, we are very familiar with distributed work as we have many offices around the world and open-minded about the lessons we’ll learn through this period.

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: