Read Sundar Pichai’s email to Google employees on extending work from home till September 2021 – Times of India


With news about Covid-19 vaccines pilfering from some parts of the world, a question that a lot of working professionals have on their mind is: when will they return to offices? Google CEO Sundar Pichai answered this question related to his employees in an email. According to a report by CNBC (via The New York Times), Pichai sent an email to Googlers on December 14 outlining the company’s plans about getting employees back in offices.
“Our goal is to give Googlers everywhere the option to return as soon as local conditions allow, and it’s encouraging to see that in some parts of APAC and EMEA, Googlers are already returning to the office. Other regions are not as far along, so to help these Googlers deal with the uncertainty still ahead, we’ll be extending our voluntary work-from-home option to September 1,” Pichai wrote in his email. Do note that in September this year, Pichai had sent a similar email announcing that work-from-home had been extended till July 2021.
Unlike certain companies like Twitter and Facebook that had given the employees work-from-home option “forever”, Pichai made it clear that Google has no such plans. “We believe that in-office collaboration will be just as important to Google’s future as it’s been to our past,” he said in the email. He said that the unpredictability due to the pandemic has created “some interesting challenges and opportunities for us as we start to bring Googlers back to the office. We’re going to lean into them and experiment with a series of pilots designs to improve productivity, collaboration, and overall well being.”
He also revealed Google’s plans about how it will get employees back in work. According to Pichai’s email, the company is working on initiatives like flexible week pilot, where employees will have the option to work three days from office and two from home. Google is also working on creating flexible office designs as well. Here’s Pichai’s email in full, according to CNBC:


Hi Googlers,

When we closed most of our offices back in March, we didn’t know what course the pandemic would take. The last few months have been especially difficult with the virus surging in many parts of the world. I know some of us are experiencing personal hardships and missing loved ones who’d normally surround us at this time of year. And many of us are leaning on our fellow Googlers more than ever.

The good news is that over the last nine months we’ve learned how to work better virtually. We’ve adapted. We’ve kept innovating. And with new vaccines on the horizon, thanks to the incredible ingenuity of our medical and scientific community, a return to normal is now in sight. So the question that I know is on your minds is: what’s next?

First, we’ll continue to face variability in many areas of the world before life returns to normal. Our goal is to give Googlers everywhere the option to return as soon as local conditions allow, and it’s encouraging to see that in some parts of APAC and EMEA, Googlers are already returning to the office. Other regions are not as far along, so to help these Googlers deal with the uncertainty still ahead, we’ll be extending our voluntary work-from-home option to September 1. That means if your role allows you to work from home until July 2021, you can now do so until the beginning of September 2021.

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Second, we believe that in-office collaboration will be just as important to Google’s future as it’s been to our past. The unpredictability still ahead for many regions creates some interesting challenges and opportunities for us as we start to bring Googlers back to the office. We’re going to lean into them and experiment with a series of pilots designs to improve productivity, collaboration, and overall well being. Here’s what you can expect to see in 2021:

  • Flexible work week pilot: To remove the friction of five-day-a-week commutes, we will pilot a hybrid model in which teams come together for “collaboration days” in the office and spend the other days doing focused work for home or the office. In sites that have reached Level 2 on the risk assessment curve, we’ll offer a 3/2 work week — a minimum of three days in the office and two at home (or wherever you work best). This pilot won’t make sense for every role or every team — particularly Googlers in customer-facing roles spending lots of time with clients, employees who need to be on-site in data centers or labs, or those who. Depend on specialized equipment to do their work — so please read the full FAQ and expect further guidance in 2021 from your product or function lead.
  • Flexible office design: In offices that have reached levels 2, 3 and 4 on the risk assessment curves, you’ll see new options, such as bookable collaboration spaces for up to a dozen people and outdoor spaces for large team gatherings. We’ll also have reservable desks for Googlers who want to dod individual work in a quiet space (which, as we’ve learned, is not always possible at home).
  • New collaboration technology: We’ll keep iterating on our tools and spaces to ensure collaboration equity between Googlers who are working from home and Googlers who are sitting together in the office. For example, we’re creating in-office presentation booths designed to send professional-quality broadcasts to large, distributed audiences. We’re also improving products like Meet and workspace to better bridge the gap between colleagues working from the office and those working from home.

Ultimately, we are testing a hypothesis that a flexible work model will lead to greater productivity, collaboration and well being. Those goals have always been at the core of Google’s workplace philosophy and will stay front and center for us as we plan for the future. No company at our scale has ever created a fully hybrid workforce model — though a few are starting to test it — so it will be interesting to try. We’ll approach these pilots with a spirit of innovation and an open mind, and do rigorous measurement along the way to help us learn and adapt.

I’m excited about the opportunity to reimagine our workplace together and am sure you’ll have many questions. We’ll continue the discussion in future forums and follow up in early 2021 with more detail.

– Sundar



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Sagar Biswas

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