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.
Google’s move comes as Bay Area health authorities have significantly eased COVID-based restrictions, with Santa Clara County on Wednesday joining the rest of the counties in the region in lifting their indoor mask mandate.
The company’s decision to bring workers back to offices indicates that despite the popularity of remote hiring among many tech workers, Conclusion by the Gulf Region Council That 45% of Bay Area jobs can be done remotely, Google is committed to office operations. The company is expanding its presence in the Gulf region, where it plans to establish 80-acre complex in San Jose that would blend 7.3 million square feet of office space, 4,000 residential units, and 500,000 square feet of retail space. In December, Santa Clara County documents showed that Google paid $73.5 million in cash for a Building in Mountain View Across the street from its headquarters in Googleplex.
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