Yet again, Google is tweaking its return-to-office plan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Google employees previously expected to come back to the office on January 10—but now the company’s executives have postponed that date until later in 2022.
In an internal email excerpted by CNBC, Google security VP Chris Rackow suggested that the company will also allow specific offices to determine their own timelines for bringing everyone back. In the meantime, individual employees are encouraged to pop into the office “to reconnect with colleagues in person and start regaining the muscle memory of being in the office more regularly.”
Whenever Google puts a definitive date on its return-to-office, employees will have 30 days to transition back to their old desks. Going forward, Google is committing to a hybrid workweek model that will bring employees to the office for three days per week (presumably with some exceptions for those jobs that require employees to be onsite full-time, such as hardware development).
Google originally pushed back its reopening date to January 2022 in response to the then-surging Delta variant. With the Omnicron variant now dominating the world’s attention, it remains to be seen whether other tech companies will adjust their return-to-office plans. Like Google, various tech giants (including Apple, Amazon, and others) have made it clear they won’t easily allow employees to work remotely full-time even after the pandemic is (hopefully) contained—hybrid schedules will likely become the norm.
But many technologists may like that norm: Dice’s 2021 Technologist Sentiment Report showed that, in the second quarter of 2021, some 85 percent of technologists wanted hybrid work, slightly but notably ahead of the 80 percent who preferred full-time (100 percent) remote work. In November, GitHub’s State of the Octoverse report also showed an overwhelming preference for hybrid and remote schedules. Good thing that companies seem to be listening to their workers about their scheduling preferences.