Google is Working on a Post-Pandemic Work Schedule

Posted on December 14, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Google with 15 Comments

With an eye on the post-pandemic world, Google this past weekend told employees that it would offer them more flexible work-from-home schedules. The firm also delayed the date at which it will allow most employees back into the office, from July 2021 to September 2021.

“We are testing a hypothesis that a flexible work model will lead to greater productivity, collaboration, and well-being,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai wrote in an email that was seen by The New York Times. “No company at our scale has ever created a fully hybrid work force model—though a few are starting to test it—so it will be interesting to try.”

According to the email, Google’s proposed flexible workweek would see most employees come to the office three days per week for “collaboration days” and then work from home the other two.

Google was one of the first companies in the United States to require its employees to work from home when the pandemic struck this country in early March 2020. It has since repeatedly delayed the date at which it expects most employees to come back into the office. But with vaccines on the way and a more science-based administration headed to the White House in January, the firm is now trying to figure out a more realistic schedule, both for the return to the office and for what the new workweek will look like.

Google is also designing new office layouts that it hopes will lower the risk of COVID-19 and other viruses. And in the future, it will allow employees to book indoor collaboration spaces for up to 12 people and outdoor spaces for larger gatherings.

Join the discussion!

BECOME A THURROTT MEMBER:

Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Become a Thurrott Premium or Basic User to participate

Register
Comments (18)

18 responses to “Google is Working on a Post-Pandemic Work Schedule”

  1. wright_is

    It looks like they sent everyone home and locked the keys in the building today, with everything being offline at the moment.

  2. bluvg

    In reply to deified_texan:

    This reads as oversensitive. Each party has made it clear through their own words and actions their relationship with science. Observing that is apolitical, just as if he had said "a more deregulation-minded administration" had things turned out differently.

  3. bluvg

    In reply to maxdaddy:

    Seems not so much of a political comment but rather an observation, based on both party's own comments and actions relative to science and the scientific community.

  4. illuminated

    This just shows that there is no single best solution. Work from home mixed with office is the best. I would die if I would have to work from home for the rest of my life. I would also hate going to the office every day.


    Just noticed that premium comments are weird. Some are even complaining about politics... Too much work from home is not good for mental health. I do not feel that great myself sometimes.


    • minke

      In reply to illuminated:
      A lot of people love working from home, myself included. If I had my druthers I'd never set foot in the office again, but I have to show up every day because that's what the powers that be want to see. There is zero difference in what I can do from home. Going into the office wastes time and money on the commute. We have better and more productive meetings on Zoom and they are better attended. On the other hand, I know there are many businesses where people are needed on the premises, but I think there are many others where WFH makes sense.


  5. minke

    Now that some top companies are offering WFH options they all have to adapt or else risk losing their hiring edge. The people who really like WFH will be able to continue to do so, or else they will move on to where they can do it. I think instead of trying to force people into the office 2 or 3 days a week they should instead offer the option to either work in the office or WFH. That will maximize the number of employees who are happy, and it would still be possible to bring everyone together from time to time. Of course it depends on the roll, but a lot of software engineers can WFH just as easily as in the office.

  6. JerryH

    I hope my company doesn't take their cue from Google. I've been wondering - and I honestly won't be able to know for sure until actually faced with the question - if they tell us to be in the office more than two days per week if I would just say forget it and retire early. Pre-pandemic I've worked from home 1 day a week anyway for over 18 years. My home office setup is awesome and I really don't feel any need to be at some specific location on a campus. The majority of my team feels the same - it is only the ones with little kids or no place to work comfortably at home that are wanting to be back in the office.

    • fishnet37222

      In reply to JerryH:

      I live by myself, but I prefer working from the office because I'm more productive that way.

    • nine54

      In reply to JerryH:


      If everyone continues working home or is only in the office for a fraction of the time, what will companies like Google do with their real estate? I'm sure "maximizing real estate investments" comes up when companies talk about planning for a return to work, and I appreciate the challenge companies have in balancing new expectations employees have around flexible work vs. ROI on real estate.

      • JerryH

        In reply to nine54:

        I know some of our management has been actively looking to sell some amount of the real estate that they currently own or at least get out from leases on some that they currently lease. The question comes down to who you can sell it to or sub-lease it to or whatever since so many companies are going to be looking to downsize their office space footprint that the price isn't going to be attractive to sellers. This is one of the reasons I've held off from putting any money into any REITs this year - I need to understand what the "new normal" is going to be in this market and wait for the value to settle to a post pandemic level.

  7. davidl

    Ugh..."more science-based administration".

  8. mattbg

    Strange how quickly we've gone from the Silicon Valley culture of "create all the amenities on-site so that nobody needs to leave" to this.


    It's good to experiment, but something about the old model suggested that there was a lot of value in everyone being in one place at the same time.

Leave a Reply