The end of fully remote work? Google begins shift to the hybrid office

An internal memo does appear to offer some flexibility, however.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributor on

Google has asked employees to return to the office in a transition from remote setups to hybrid working arrangements. 

As reported by Reuters, an internal email sent to employees in the San Francisco Bay Area told staff that as the COVID-19 pandemic has now reached the stage where treatments have been developed, vaccines are available, and case numbers are on the decline, "we can officially begin the transition to the hybrid workweek."

In the initial stages of the pandemic, countless organizations worldwide were forced to quickly come up with remote work options, a necessary pivot from traditional office setups due to stay-at-home orders and lockdowns. 

The necessity of these actions, for some, has led to a preference for employees in many sectors to have the option of either fully remote or hybrid workweeks, in which they spend some days at home and some in the office or in collaborative spaces. 

This has also created a dilemma for businesses: if they mandate office-only requirements, they may lose valuable members of staff to competitors with remote and/or hybrid workweeks.

Thus, hybrid setups appear to be a satisfactory compromise for a number of companies -- at least, for now. 

According to the email, from April 4, Google is reportedly requiring employees to be in the office for roughly three days a week in some US, UK, and Asia Pacific locations. There may be variations depending on staff roles, but employees may also have the option to ask to be relocated. 

Reuters reports that the email also touched upon COVID-19 vaccination status. The tech giant is apparently requiring office teams to be fully vaccinated or exempt, and if not, employees can apply for an exemption or ask to work from home on a permanent basis.

In addition, members of staff that are fully vaccinated will not have to wear masks in the Bay Area offices. 

CNBC reports that some pre-pandemic perks are also being restored, including shuttle service and access to fitness centers. 

In other Google news this week, the tech giant has launched various initiatives to assist Ukrainians during the current Russia-Ukraine conflict. 

Millions of dollars have been donated to humanitarian aid and relief efforts, resources have been added to Google Search to make finding refugee and evacuation information easier, and a number of live Google Maps features in Ukraine have been temporarily disabled to protect citizens.

Previous and related coverage

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