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Google will try ‘hybrid’ work-from-home models, as most employees don’t want to come in every day


Sundar Pichai, chief executive officer of Alphabet Inc., gestures while speaking during a discussion on artificial intelligence at the Bruegel European economic think tank in Brussels, Belgium, on Monday, Jan. 20, 2020. Pichai urged the U.S. and European Union to coordinate regulatory approaches on artificial intelligence, calling their alignment critical.

Geert Vanden Wijngaert | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Google is rethinking its long-term work options for employees, as most of them say they don’t want to come back to the office full-time.

Sixty-two percent of Google employees want to return to their offices at some point, but not every day, according to a recent survey of employee office preferences the company released this week. So Google is working on “hybrid” models, including rearranging its offices and figuring out more long-term remote work options, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said in an interview with Time magazine on Wednesday.

“I see the future as being more flexible,” Pichai said in the interview. “We firmly believe that in-person, being together, having a sense of community is super important when you have to solve hard problems and create something new so we don’t see that changing. But we do think we need to create more flexibility and more hybrid models.”

The long-term planning comes as Google, which has been looked at as a model for Silicon Valley workplaces, slowly reveals more details of its plans to return its employees back to the office while also competing with other tech companies for top talent. Earlier in the summer, the company gave staffers the option to work from home through July 2021 amid the global pandemic. That came as Facebook announced a similar timeline, while other companies, such as Twitter, said employees can work remotely “forever.”

Google began preparations early on in the pandemic and more recently made changes including to its internal communication forums, CNBC first reported. However, employees have missed the in-office perks such as food offerings and personal chefs.

Ten percent of Google employees — down from 20% surveyed in May — said they don’t want to come into the office at all in the future, according to the recent survey. Fifteen percent said they’d only want to come into the office “Ad hoc” or for particular events.

Employees’ reasons for wanting to return to offices included face time with colleagues, the ability to socialize, and better collaboration opportunities, the survey showed.

“It’s always made me wonder — when I see people commuting two hours and away from their family and friends on a Friday, you realize they can’t have plans,” Pichai said in Wednesday’s interview, referring to Silicon Valley’s long work commutes. “So I think we could do better.”

Watch: Coronavirus may forever change how Big Tech works



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