Google Slammed For Its Idea On How To Force Workers Back To The Office
A decade ago, the idea of working, constantly, from home seemed impossible for most people. Then, out of nowhere, Covid struck and we all kept on working from home. Now, many employees can’t even imagine going back to the office five times a week.
But this may change, as some tech giants want to draw workers back to their expensive offices. Google is a prime example, as it mulls measuring employee office attendance as part of its performance reviews. Whether this spells the end for working from home as the norm, time will tell.
Working from home seemed like it was becoming the new standard, but now some companies want people back in the office
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Google is considering keeping track of office attendance and bringing it up during performance meetings
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Some companies maintain massive complexes full of benefits for employees
Large tech companies often set the bar pretty high for employee comfort in the office. Google’s campus, the Googleplex has facilities more reminiscent of a hotel, like free laundry rooms, two small swimming pools, multiple sand volleyball courts, a bowling alley, massage rooms, organic gardens, and eighteen cafeterias that serve a variety of cuisines. This is all situated in Mountain View, California, which, as one can imagine, is pretty prime real estate. Naturally, these companies might start to wonder why they are painting to run an office, theme park, and four-star hotel all at the same time if people are simply working from home anyway. As a result, Google is discussing plans to include attendance as part of a worker’s metrics, so it can be brought up during performance meetings.
Google isn’t alone, as Meta, aka Facebook, has also started to push for more workers to come in. It also boasts an impressive complex, with multiple offices around the world. Its main HQ is in Menlo Park, California, not too far from Google. The complex is large enough to warrant 40 restaurants and cafes, with a diverse selection of food on offer. Employees even eat for free, but if most of the workforce remains at home, these establishments just drain money. To counter the dreaded morning commute, Meta even organizes shuttle buses for its employees, though the parking lot at HQ is still massive and even has its own dedicated EV charging station. Despite this long list of benefits, work from home has still become the norm for many, so Meta has decided to take more drastic measures and mandate three days a week in the office, starting in September.
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Work from home still has its proponents and other companies have adjusted their policies accordingly
In contrast, Salesforce seems to prefer the carrot over the stick and is instead incentivizing workers to return to the office through a novel strategy that would see the company donate $10 per person per day to charity for each worker that comes in. A spokesperson has stated that “Giving back is deeply embedded in everything we do, and we’re proud to introduce Connect for Good to encourage employees to help us raise (over) $1 million for local nonprofits.” While the real goal might be to get workers used to coming in more often, it’s a commendable initiative. Other tech companies like Uber have attempted a more flexible approach, where workers just have to be in the office for half of the time. This allows for more accessible remote work, as employees can spend part of the year abroad, but the company still gets some use out of its office complex.
One common thread among all these companies is that they are based in San Francisco, which is one of the most expensive cities in the world, in eighth place globally. A return to the office, even for a few days a week, means that employees need to live nearby, paying significantly higher rent and utilities than elsewhere in the country or even abroad. 2022 housing costs in San Francisco are over 100% higher than the national average, and the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco was $3,020 just last year. Setting aside the costs, working from home has measurable psychological benefits. Research shows that staying at home removes a lot of general irritants and stress, like commuting, waking up early, and maintaining office attire, among other things. This ends up translating into better productivity and a feeling of well-being. Time will tell if working from home has a future or if the office will always be part of a job.
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