Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks on stage during the annual Google I / O Developers Conference in Mountain View, California, on May 8, 2018.
Stephen Lam | Reuters
Google, one of the first large U.S. companies to send employees home last year for coronavirus, is setting new guidelines for telecommuting as it speeds up plans to return staff to the office.
As millions of Americans are vaccinated daily, Google is accelerating the reopening of plans in some parts of the U.S. on a voluntary basis before returning Sept. 1. year, according to internal documents reviewed by CNBC. Offices will open in limited capacity in April based on vaccine availability and a downward trend in Covid-19 cases.
“It’s been a year since many of us work from home, and the thought of returning to the office could spark different emotions,” Fiona Cicconi, Google’s new head of human affairs, wrote in an email across the company on Wednesday. Cicconi advised employees to get the Covid-19 vaccine, but said it was not mandatory.
If employees want to work remotely after September 1, more than 14 days a year, they will have to formally apply for it, according to a special note marked “Need to Know”. They can apply for a period of up to 12 months in “the most exceptional circumstances”. The company could, however, invite employees to the assigned office at any time, the note said.
Google is preparing for a wide opening in September, when employees are expected to show up in person three days a week. The company takes a different approach than its industrial counterparts such as Facebook i Twitter, which has promised to allow remote work indefinitely.
In a statement to CNBC by email, Google confirmed the letters and added that “constant moves for personal reasons are still pending.”
CNBC first reported in December, Google implemented the idea of telecommuting and expects workers to “live away from travel” to the office.
Cicconi wrote in an email Wednesday that employees will return to tidy offices that will allow owners to bring their dogs. She said the planning work was run by groups of real estate and workplace services companies.
“The offices won’t look exactly the way you remember them, but our amazing REWS teams are doing their best to make them comfortable, including providing meals, snacks and amenities where possible,” Cicconi said. “We’ll even welcome our Doogleres.”
Cicconi warned employees to “be vigilant in order to prevent a new wave of viruses”, adding that Brazil sees “significant difficulties” with the “increase in cases”.
Those employees who left the Gulf area during a pandemic for less stress and perhaps to save money may have an incentive to return. In one of Wednesday’s notes, the company said it could adjust employees ’salaries based on where they work.
Axios previously reported on Google’s plans for some employees to return in April.
Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that employees, after September 1, wanting to work remotely for more than 14 days a year will have to file a formal application. The previous version incorrectly characterized the circumstances due to which the application is required.