Google is ending work-from-home option for most Bay Area workers

With COVID waning and vaccination rates rising in the Bay Area, Google will stop letting most employees do their jobs remotely, and this month will begin putting workers into a three-day routine in the office, the company said Wednesday.

The authorization follows four thwarted attempts by the Mountain View digital advertising giant to resume office work among the changing threats of the coronavirus pandemic, and changing public health orders. Most recently, in December Google announced plans to end the option to volunteer remotely on January 10, but amid the spread of the omicron coronavirus variant, the office delayed a return to an unspecified date.

The company said Wednesday that Google’s Bay Area offices are among the company’s selected locations in the United States where it will enforce the new “hybrid” model that mixes telecommuting and office work. A Google spokesperson said it has about 45,000 employees in this region.

Google said in a press release that employees can spend March adjusting to the new workplace scheme, and the company expects the hybrid model to be fully operational on April 4.

To enter offices, workers must be vaccinated against COVID or, if not vaccinated, work under company-approved restrictions including concealment and regular COVID testing, Google said.

The company said fifteen-minute counseling sessions will be available to workers who need help adjusting to the new model.

Workers can apply to move location or work completely remotely, Google said, adding that it has approved about 85% of such requests from employees worldwide since June, with about 14,000 workers gaining approval.

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