Most Google employees will work from home until 2021, CEO says

Polycount

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Moving forward, the search behemoth's employees will be working remotely through the remainder of 2020. This announcement came from Google CEO Sundar Pichai during an "all hands" meeting yesterday, according to a report from The Information.

This move will likely have a significant impact on Google's operations over time, but it's certainly the appropriate path forward. Given how many people Google employs, one could argue that the company has an inherent responsibility to play a role in curbing the spread of Covid-19.

Of course, the decision is also a win-win for the tech firm either way. Should Covid-19 resolve itself (or at least become a less serious threat) before 2021 kicks off, nothing is stopping the company from backtracking. Of course, if the opposite occurs, and the coronavirus situation only gets worse over the holidays, the new end date is far enough off that Google could easily extend its timeline if necessary.

During his announcement, Pichai informed workers that some could be allowed back into the office in June or July, but only if their job requires their physical presence. Examples were not given, but we suspect Google is referring to maintenance workers or those in similar roles.

Regardless, even for those workers, the in-office experience will not be business as usual. Google is reportedly planning to implement strict Covid-19 protection measures across its campuses locations, though we're unsure what those measures will be.

For everyone's sake, we hope that Google's announcement will prove unnecessary down the line, but only time will tell.

Middle image credit: Drazen Zigic

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ShagnWagn

Posts: 1,297   +1,081
Is there a reason companies are wanting people who can work from home back in an office at all? I know that not having to commute is very nice for numerous reasons. The company also saves a chunk of cash not needing as big an office, if any. This includes all the expenses of an office, such as cleaning, maintenance, utilities, break room supplies, etc etc. It would be nice if at least some of that was granted as a stipend for the employee to build/maintain an office at home. You just can't replace face-to-face communication though. Video conferencing feels detached from reality and I don't see how you can form work relationships through them.
 

Puiu

Posts: 4,146   +2,791
TechSpot Elite
Is there a reason companies are wanting people who can work from home back in an office at all? I know that not having to commute is very nice for numerous reasons. The company also saves a chunk of cash not needing as big an office, if any. This includes all the expenses of an office, such as cleaning, maintenance, utilities, break room supplies, etc etc. It would be nice if at least some of that was granted as a stipend for the employee to build/maintain an office at home. You just can't replace face-to-face communication though. Video conferencing feels detached from reality and I don't see how you can form work relationships through them.
Not having a central place for your employees is bad for many reasons (productivity, communication, security, logistics, etc). You don't really save money by not having an office if you lose it in other places.
 

texasrattler

Posts: 1,018   +454
Is there a reason companies are wanting people who can work from home back in an office at all? I know that not having to commute is very nice for numerous reasons. The company also saves a chunk of cash not needing as big an office, if any. This includes all the expenses of an office, such as cleaning, maintenance, utilities, break room supplies, etc etc. It would be nice if at least some of that was granted as a stipend for the employee to build/maintain an office at home. You just can't replace face-to-face communication though. Video conferencing feels detached from reality and I don't see how you can form work relationships through them.
Believe it or not business through video isnt new for any corp and has been done for a long time. Smaller companies it may be different for but its something the world just needs to adapt to. Just like not hand shaking.
 

texasrattler

Posts: 1,018   +454
There's some deficiency gained by working from home but I think there should be at least 2 or 3 days per week in the office for the reasons mentioned above.
Im sure they do or will but only for certain ppl. They staff dont need to be there but maybe there dept boss does. Then later the dept boss does a email or video to his team.
There are plenty of jobs that can actually be done from home, they dont require you to do much other than use a computer. Which is usually just staff. Most of them can easily be emailed or videoed to be told whats happening and what they need to be doing/focusing on.
 
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Lew Zealand

Posts: 1,633   +1,689
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Im sure they do or will but only for certain ppl. They staff dont need to be there but maybe there dept boss does. Then later the dept boss does a email or video to his team.
There are plenty of jobs that can actually be done from home, they dont require you to do much other than use a computer. Which is usually just staff. Most of them can easily be emailed or videoed to be told whats happening and what they need to be doing/focusing on.
Big typo on my part, that was supposed to be efficiency. Which I have misspelled 3x now and one of the spellcheck options is clearly 'deficiency'.
 
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Polycount

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  • #9
Is there a reason companies are wanting people who can work from home back in an office at all? I know that not having to commute is very nice for numerous reasons. The company also saves a chunk of cash not needing as big an office, if any. This includes all the expenses of an office, such as cleaning, maintenance, utilities, break room supplies, etc etc. It would be nice if at least some of that was granted as a stipend for the employee to build/maintain an office at home. You just can't replace face-to-face communication though. Video conferencing feels detached from reality and I don't see how you can form work relationships through them.
I didn't have enough space in the sub headline to be too specific, but the people who will be returning in June/July are people who, according to Google, absolutely must be in the office to do their job.

I'm not sure what jobs those might be. I speculated in the article that it might be maintenance workers (who keep everything running so people at home can work properly), but it's hard to say for sure. I'm having a tough time thinking of many other jobs that can't be done, perhaps with some modifications, from home.
 

psycros

Posts: 3,230   +3,475
I didn't have enough space in the sub headline to be too specific, but the people who will be returning in June/July are people who, according to Google, absolutely must be in the office to do their job.

I'm not sure what jobs those might be. I speculated in the article that it might be maintenance workers (who keep everything running so people at home can work properly), but it's hard to say for sure. I'm having a tough time thinking of many other jobs that can't be done, perhaps with some modifications, from home.
Its actually kind of difficult for close-knit teams of programmers to all work apart from each other. Believe me, it goes wrong more often than it goes right.
 
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Polycount

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Its actually kind of difficult for close-knit teams of programmers to all work apart from each other. Believe me, it goes wrong more often than it goes right.
Interesting, that's good to know. That doesn't surprise me, but I suppose I never really thought about it that much.

Are you speaking from experience? Programmer yourself, perhaps?
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 2,061   +2,619
And just like California and New york's plans to close for 6+ months, this will last until he ramifications begin to hit, in this case in the form of dramatically lower productivity and management realizing how utterly USELESS they are 90% of the time.

Interesting, that's good to know. That doesn't surprise me, but I suppose I never really thought about it that much.

Are you speaking from experience? Programmer yourself, perhaps?
I've done IT support my whole life. Any team, programming or not, you have a productivity drop when working from home. Doesnt matter if its programming, virtual classroom teaching, managers having meetings. Everyone thinks their productivity is amazing, but on a meta level productivity is garbage because people get distracted at home, and lose their perspective when not around coworkers. The "hard work" I am seeing now wouldnt even qualify as a lazy day before all this.
 

Mister_K

Posts: 1,979   +632
And just like California and New york's plans to close for 6+ months, this will last until he ramifications begin to hit, in this case in the form of dramatically lower productivity and management realizing how utterly USELESS they are 90% of the time.


I've done IT support my whole life. Any team, programming or not, you have a productivity drop when working from home. Doesnt matter if its programming, virtual classroom teaching, managers having meetings. Everyone thinks their productivity is amazing, but on a meta level productivity is garbage because people get distracted at home, and lose their perspective when not around coworkers. The "hard work" I am seeing now wouldnt even qualify as a lazy day before all this.
Certainly agree. My productivity is probably about 25% less than usual because I can get away with it. However, mentally, I feel better and feel like this is how would should be conducted rather than turn and burn on a factory conveyor belt (work in creative field).
 

MilwaukeeMike

Posts: 3,213   +1,462
I didn't have enough space in the sub headline to be too specific, but the people who will be returning in June/July are people who, according to Google, absolutely must be in the office to do their job.

I'm not sure what jobs those might be. I speculated in the article that it might be maintenance workers (who keep everything running so people at home can work properly), but it's hard to say for sure. I'm having a tough time thinking of many other jobs that can't be done, perhaps with some modifications, from home.
Why go back to the office? Innovation and efficiency. The trend nowadays is for companies to have more common places with fewer and larger cafeterias etc. It's not only about economies of scale and employee comfort. When people all share a common place they talk. They talk about challenges they're having and things they're working on. Challenges get a fresh perspective to a solution by different people and good ideas get shared between teams.

Apple was the first noteworthy company to make a huge cafeteria where people would cross paths by accident. Authors of books on innovation advise to do things like go have a conversation with 3 new people each week. Have lunch with someone different every day.. etc.

All that is lost working from home. Slack channels are great for corroborating, but it's pretty hard to replace the real thing.
 

mctommy

Posts: 358   +95
Likely to add onsite maintenance technicians for various sites and data center.

Other tech companies have said as much as "wfh indefinitely" or "wfh until further notice".

Lastly, aside from reduced maintenance services, companies still have to pay for the least while nobody is utilizing the building... and in a lot of cases, the companies have kept paying normal rates for these reduced services.