How Google (and other Tech Companies) Will Operate in Post-Vaccine World

With vaccinations happening all around the country, how does Google and other tech companies see their employees coming back to work? 

CEO Sundar Pichai may have it all figured out. Google had plans to bring back employees in July 2021 but Pichai extended work-from-home privileges to September of the same year. In a Verge report, he was quoted as saying that a hybrid work model could improve productivity and well-being. It’s not far-fetched to think of this work setup for other companies looking to have some people at their office locations rather than having them working remotely.

But would it lead to better work productivity and employee well-being? That remains to be seen. But if Google is looking at a hybrid work model and it works for them, other companies in the Bay Area may just follow suit. Other big tech companies that have most workers working remotely are Facebook, Twitter and Square.  

Hybrid work model

A hybrid work model could work for a lot of people — global mobility professionals, their employers and assignees, commercial establishments and those who provide furnished homes and wondering if they need to bring in their entire furniture to northern California. 

Google is reportedly considering having employees at least 3 days of the week after September 1 of this year. Workspaces will need to be booked, with only up to 12 co-workers in attendance. 

As for the type of workers they will need to report for work, they will consist of workers with customer-facing roles as well as those who handle specialized equipment to complete their tasks.

Improving presentations

Google is also working on improving presentations. It launched Google Meet a few months ago but for presentations that require employees to go to the office, it’s not going to be unusual to see them using booths with professional-quality broadcasting systems. 

Many companies will also find themselves redesigning their workspaces in order to develop appropriate social distances among employees. 

To think that many stories report the demise of office work, Google and other tech companies, because of their vast resources, could be leading the charge in terms of how work environments or hybrid work models could be better designed in the future.

This should be good news for Netflix CEO Reed Hasting who is not a fan of remote work, saying in an interview with WSJ that it’s a “pure negative,” adding that he expects employees to be back in the office once a vaccine is developed.

Google expands footprint

As for Google in Mountain View, it’s a town in itself. By sheer mammoth size, the opportunity is there for them to provide safer workspaces, even if that means converting cubicles into semi-enclosed spaces. It helps to think that they have bigger homes unlike dense cities such as New York where living spaces are small, people are less enthusiastic about permanent remote work.

Everyone is counting out the Bay Area, especially with reports of people leaving. But not many have probably heard that Google has expanded its footprint in downtown San Francisco, leasing an additional 42,000 square feet during the pandemic, even with plans to allow their employees to work from home still in place until Sept 1. Google is also still moving forward with San Jose and Mountain View office expansion plans.

How would companies keep employees in the Bay Area when it’s much cheaper to live elsewhere and have a reason not to report to the office? Well, companies may ask their employees to take a pay cut. At present, the San Francisco and San Jose metro areas continue to command the high salaries and equity awards.