Google to Employees: Get Your Butts Into the Office

The 'tug of war' between companies, staffers on remote/hybrid work continues
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 8, 2023 9:25 AM CDT
Google to Employees: Get Your Butts Into the Office
In this April 17, 2007, file photo, exhibitors work on laptop computers in front of an illuminated sign of the Google logo at an industrial fair in Hanover, Germany.   (AP Photo/Jens Meyer, File)

A new report cited by Fortune details a "happy middle ground" reached by many companies and their workers on coming back to the office now that the worst of the pandemic has passed. That "truce" of sorts entails hybrid arrangements, in which staffers come in a few days a week, then spend of the rest of the workweek performing their duties remotely. Some companies, however, are still having growing pains with those setups, including Google, which this week updated its hybrid policy to crack down on employees who flout their deals and "are consistently absent from the office," per CNBC.

The Washington Post notes that for more than a year, Google has had its workers come into the office three days a week. But in a Wednesday email, the tech giant's chief people officer, Fiona Cicconi, said that those who've been ignoring the in-office part of the deal would start to see that reflected in their performance reviews, and that attendance would be tracked via workers' employee badges. "There's just no substitute for coming together in person," Cicconi wrote, per CNBC. She even made a special request to workers who have fully remote arrangements to consider switching to a hybrid schedule if they live near enough to a Google site. "Our offices are where you'll be most connected to Google’s community," she noted.

Google is just one example of what the Post calls the "tug of war" taking place between workers, who came to appreciate the flexibility of remote work introduced during the pandemic, and employers, who "are adamant the office is still a necessary nexus for innovation and collaboration." Some firms are still sticking with more-flexible arrangements, including Verizon, Airbnb, and Spotify, whose "Work From Anywhere" program has been in place since 2021. And then there's Salesforce, which has recently started balking on remote work but decided to use a more "unusual tactic" to cajole workers back into the office, per the Post: The company will donate $10 to local charities for each day a staffer works in person between June 12 and June 23.

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But Insider lists other companies that are putting the pressure on to come back to the cubicles, at least for part of the week, including Amazon, Disney, Meta, and Twitter, the latter of which has more or less nixed remote work completely. "Not everyone believes in 'magical hallway conversations,' but there's no question that working together in the same room makes a positive difference," Google's Cicconi wrote in her email, per CNBC. (More remote working stories.)

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