Google will make home working a rarity as its offices reopen, going against market analysts’ expectations that more businesses will adopt hybrid working models after Covid-19.
While Facebook and Twitter have said that they’ll make remote working the norm indefinitely, Google has seemingly opted to go down a different route. The advertising behemoth has told its employees that if they want to work from home more than 14 days a year they’ll need special permission.
The Mountain View-headquartered company is accelerating its office reopening plans in some parts of the US, allowing some employees to get back to the office ahead of the 1 September grand reopening. The Silicon Valley behemoth will begin to reopen some of its offices in April depending on vaccine availability and the spread of Covid-19, according to internal documents seen by CNBC. Google is encouraging staff to get the vaccine, but is not making it mandatory.
“It’s now been a year since many of us have been working from home, and the thought of returning to the office might inspire different emotions,” wrote Fiona Cicconi, Google’s new head of people operations, in a company-wide email on Wednesday.
Once offices fully reopen in September, the search engine giant will require workers to formally apply for remote working permission if they want to work more than 14 days a year at home. The documents stated that longer-term remote working permission up to 12 months in duration would be approved only in “the most exceptional circumstances” and that Google could call employees back to their assigned office at any point.
It is unclear whether similar restrictions will be imposed elsewhere in the world where Google has offices. It is also unclear whether or not contractors Google uses for tasks such as transcribing audio clips from Google’s smart assistant will have to come into the office as well due to the sensitivity of the data they handle. Verdict has reached out to Google for comment, but did not receive any answers before the publication of this story.
The news comes as a market analysts and experts predict that remote working will become the norm at the end of the pandemic.
“As for office work, this will not be the same after Covid-19,” analysts wrote in a new research report from GlobalData. “Physical spaces will be transformed and remote working, supported by technology, will become the norm for millions of employees.The nature of employment will change, with more hybrid work between offices and remote working. Individual properties will be better positioned to facilitate this trend as smart homes incorporate IoT and fibre broadband to ensure seamless workflows.”
However, home working comes with its own risks, such as increased risk of hack attacks. The recent massive SolarWinds and Microsoft Exchange Server cyberattacks illustrate just how important an issue cybersecurity is for almost any business.