Google offers staff USD1,000 to buy furniture for home offices

Sundar Pichai breaks down their return-to-work plan

Google offers staff USD1,000 to buy furniture for home offices

Google has offered employees worldwide an allowance of USD1,000 to create a conducive and comfortable home office.

In an employee memo seen by HRD, CEO Sundar Pichai suggests that the tech giant will only be reopening offices from July onwards.

“Because we still expect that most Googlers will be largely working from home for the rest of this year, we’ll be giving each Googler an allowance of $1,000 USD, or the equivalent value in your country, to expense necessary equipment and office furniture,” wrote Pichai.

He reiterated that Google will be taking a gradual, phased approach to return to work, with consideration for team and individual needs and preferences.

He announced that Google will start opening more offices in more cities from July 6 onwards, “assuming external conditions allow”.

“We are taking slow, deliberate steps to begin re-opening offices in areas where they still remain largely closed,” he wrote.

READ MORE: What will the 'new normal' look like?

In the meantime, they’ll invest more in employees’ work-from-home setup to “make sure you have what you need to be productive and comfortable”.

Pichai explained the planned July reopening date will allow staff who need to go to the office the opportunity to return on a limited, rotating basis. This will consider safe building capacity of around 10% and look something like a return to office one day every couple of weeks, he said.

“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,” he wrote.

“Our goal is to be fair in the way we allocate time in the office, while limiting the number of people who come in, consistent with safety protocols.”

The ‘rotation program’ will be further scaled sometime in September, if conditions allow, and they’ll allow a building capacity of 30%. Priority will still be given to staff who need to come in.

He told affected staff to reach out to their managers by June 10. However, he expects everyone else to continue to work from home, clarifying that returning to the office “will be voluntary” for the rest of 2020.

READ MORE: Return to work: Leaders top concerns revealed

“While some of you have expressed interest in coming back to the office, others have asked whether it’s okay to temporarily relocate to another place to be closer to family while you’re working from home,” he wrote.

“Please talk with your manager if you are considering this, and review the guidelines, which include important information about a number of personal factors you should consider (such as your tax filings and health coverage/eligibility).”

Google is also working to develop more flexibility in the way they work. They’re studying data and feedback from employees to create more flexibility and choice for the future.

“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,” he wrote.

“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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