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Google gives workers a chunk of cash to build a home office

The coronavirus pandemic forced companies around the world to temporarily shutter their offices, forcing countless employees to work from home instead.

In the U.S., tech firms in particular appear to have embraced home working, with Twitter, for example, offering many of its employees the chance to work from home “forever,” and Facebook allowing some of its staff to work remotely until at least the end of the year.

On Tuesday, May 26, Google CEO Sundar Pichai revealed plans for the company’s own post-pandemic work strategy as it turns its attention to reopening its offices around the world.

While it currently plans for a relatively small number of its so-called Googlers to return to offices from July 6, Pichai wrote in an email to his employees that he expects that most will be largely working from home for the rest of 2020.

As a result, the company will be handing each Googler a $1,000 cash allowance (or equivalent depending on local currency) for buying necessary equipment and furniture for their home office. We should mention here that Digital Trends has a handy guide on setting up such an office.

For offices reopening in July, Google plans to keep occupancy at just 10% of capacity at the start, increasing it to 30% in September. The idea is that the low numbers will help to reduce contact between people, thereby preventing further coronavirus infections.

Rigorous health and safety measures such as social distancing and sanitization will also be put in place, “so the office will look and feel different” than when employees left their desks earlier this year, Pichai said.

The CEO described the steps to reopen Google offices as “slow” and “deliberate.”

He added that looking forward, Google will be considering how it can “develop more overall flexibility in how we work.”

But he was also keen to point out the benefits of turning up to an office each day, saying, “Our campuses are designed to enable collaboration and community — in fact, some of our greatest innovations were the result of chance encounters in the office — and it’s clear this is something many of us don’t want to lose.”

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Trevor Mogg
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