Google CEO Sundar Pichai told employees Tuesday that the search giant is targeting July 6 to reopen offices for workers that want to come back to in person. The return will be gradual, starting at about 10% building capacity, he said. The company aims to ramp up to 30% capacity by September.
For people who want to continue working from home, Pichai said the company will allow employees to expense up to $1,000 for equipment and furniture, such as standing desks or ergonomic chairs.
Google has been more vocal about employees returning to the workplace while other tech giants have touted permanent telecommuting options. Pichai’s remarks to staff come days after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the social networking giant will allow some employees to work from home permanently. He said about half of Facebook’s workforce could be remote over the next five to 10 years. Twitter made a similar announcement earlier this month. CEO Jack Dorsey also extended the policy to his other company, mobile-payments firm Square, last week.
The discussion of remote-working policies underscores how the world’s largest tech companies are reevaluating their approach to business after the novel coronavirus forced unprecedented office shutdowns across the globe. Pichai had previously said most employees will work remotely for the rest of 2020.
Google is in the midst of big office expansions, including major additions to its already sprawling headquarters in Mountain View, California. The company is also investing in a large campus in San Jose, California, and a renovated building in New York City. Pichai told Wired last week that remote working won’t impact those projects.
“In all scenarios I expect us to need physical spaces to get people together, absolutely. We have a lot of growth planned ahead,” he said. “So even if there is some course correction, I don’t think our existing footprint is going to be the issue.”