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Google's work from home strategy includes a $1,000 allowance

It still wants to bring workers back to the office over time.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
May 26, 2020
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NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 19: The Google offices in NYC are closed during the COVID-19 pandemic on May 19, 2020 in New York City. COVID-19 has spread to most countries around the world, claiming over 323,000 lives with infections of over 4.9 million people. (Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images)
Ben Gabbe/Getty Images

Google is joining other companies is planning for a return to the office as COVID-19 cases decline, but its strategy may be more elaborate than most. Company chief Sundar Pichai has outlined a roadmap that will still have most employees working from home for the rest of 2020. As a resultthe company is providing a $1,000 allowance to staff to help them buy computers, office furniture and other equipment needed for remote work. While that might not cover everything, it should ease the burden for workers who don’t have everything they need.

Provided all goes well, the return will start on July 6th with necessary employees showing up on a “rotating basis” with about 10 percent capacity. A worker may only come in once every two weeks, Pichai said. Those rotations will increase to 30 percent by September if things go smoothly. There will be “rigorous” safety measures including social distancing and cleanliness, and only those who absolutely need to come into the office will be asked to show up. Office appearances will be voluntary for everyone else throughout 2020.

Some of this approach is shared with companies like Facebook. However, it’s apparent that Google won’t embrace remote work as enthusiastically as Twitter, which will let most staff work from home indefinitely. Some of the internet giant’s successes came from “chance encounters in the office,” Pichai explained, and workers might not want to lose that human connection. Google is studying the effects of the sudden shift to working from home and aims for “more overall flexibility” that could include more remote work, but it’s not yet ready to abandon physical offices just yet.

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