Google plans on giving out $1,600 bonuses to its staff worldwide. That’s in addition to the company’s work-from-home allowance and other perks distributed over the past year. What’s behind this new payout?
A Google spokesperson told Reuters (which broke the story) that the new payout is designed to support the workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the newswire, Google conducted an internal survey earlier this year that showed employees’ well-being on the decline, which sparked a series of bonuses and benefits.
Before the pandemic, tech companies of all sizes focused on giving employees all kinds of office-based perks. Google, for example, was famous for its world-class cafeterias, on-site gyms, and other amenities. But with workforces stuck largely at home for more than 18 months, these companies had to reconsider those perks—and many opted to begin handing out stipends for everything from health and wellness to home-office equipment.
Amy Spurling, CEO and co-founder of Compt, a perk management platform, told Dice last year that many companies were offering new employees between $500 and $1,500 for home-office setups, while existing employees received an average of $1,200. Over the past two years, other companies have offered extended health coverage, access to financial education tools, and more flexible work schedules.
But cash alone won’t solve burnout, depression, and other issues exacerbated by the pandemic. When queried by Dice, technologists have cited workload, hours worked, lack of recognition for work, and lack of challenges/monotony as their top reasons for burnout. Bonuses are great, but companies also need to consider all of these other factors when trying to boost workforces’ collective well-being. Sometimes a pep talk by a manager can make all the difference in keeping a valuable technologist on the team.
Google originally planned to reintroduce its employees to offices in January 2022. However, it recently postponed that date until later in 2022, driven by concerns over the Omnicron variant. Once offices are open again, the company will follow a hybrid workweek model that will bring employees to the office three days per week (presumably with some exceptions for those jobs that require employees to be onsite full-time, such as hardware development). Hopefully Google’s employees will find such a schedule satisfactory.