After nearly two years working from home, Google employees in the Bay Area and several other cities will be back at the office on April 4th. The announcement came in an email from John Casey, Google’s vice president of global benefits, reported CNBC. Casey cited the steady drop in COVID-19 cases in the Bay Area, advances in treatment and improved safety measures as reasons behind the return’s timing. Google, along with much of Silicon Valley, initially planned a January return-to-work date, but was forced to delay it due to the Omicron surge. Since then, the company has allowed workers to voluntarily return to its Mountain View and San Francisco offices if they agree to wear a mask and are fully vaccinated.
Google is taking a slow approach to transitioning its entire workforce back to the office. Last year CEO Sundar Pichai laid out a "hybrid work" plan, with most employees having the option to work remotely for at least part of the week. We'll see this plan in action in April, with most Google employees still working from home two days a week. Employees can work at the office more often if they choose, or file for an extension of their work-from-home arrangement if they’re not ready to return.
Springtime seems to be when much of Big Tech is eyeing a return to campus. Microsoft employees returned to work at the Redmond, Washington headquarters this week, but with the expectation that most employees will spend about 50 percent of their time working remotely. Most Meta employees will be returning to the office on March 28th. Twitter employees can opt to work remotely forever, but has allowed employees access to their San Francisco and New York City offices if they show proof of vaccination.
President Joe Biden called for the “vast majority” of federal employees to return to the office in his State of the Union Speech on Tuesday. So it’s likely we’ll see even more companies announce their re-opening dates soon, especially if cases continue to decline and cities drop mask mandates.