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.