Google will experiment with a flexible work week when employees return to the office sometime next year, the tech giant’s CEO has revealed.
In an email to staff, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company has extended its work from home policy until September 2021 but will also be testing a permanent flexible work model once it is safe to return to the office. The proposal comes as companies and employers around the world grapple with what work should look like in the aftermath of the pandemic.
The hybrid model would see workers at Google come into the office three days a week for “collaboration” days and allow work from home to continue on other days.
“We are testing a hypothesis that a flexible work model will lead to greater productivity, collaboration, and well-being,” Pichai wrote in the email to staff that was obtained by The New York Times.
“No company at our scale has ever created a fully hybrid work force model — though a few are starting to test it — so it will be interesting to try.”
The proposal comes after Google has extended its work from home policy multiple times since the pandemic began, first to January 2021, then July and now September. The timing of the proposed flexible work week changes are not set in stone, largely due to the varying state of COVID-19 in different countries.
Google’s plan for a flexible work week comes after Microsoft announced a similar plan for a hybrid work model and greater flexibility once offices reopen. In October, Microsoft’s chief people officer Kathleen Hogan told employees they will be able to work from home for less than 50 per cent of the week, and managers would have the ability to approve permanent work from home for employees.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged all of us to think, live, and work in new ways,” Hogan said in a note to employees.
“We will offer as much flexibility as possible to support individual workstyles, while balancing business needs, and ensuring we live our culture.”