While Facebook and Google plan to get ‘critical’ workers back on-site in the coming weeks, the companies expect the majority of employees to work remotely until the end of 2020. While Elon Musk is eager to see Tesla employees return to work as soon as possible, the bosses at Facebook and Google now expect their employees to work from home for the remainder of 2020.
According to Bloomberg, Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai told employees on Thursday (7 May) that they should be prepared to work remotely through October and possibly until the end of the year. The Google boss said that there will be certain moments or occasions where employees can come into the office.
In a memo, Pichai told all Google employees to take Friday (22 May) as an official day off to decompress, citing concerns about burnout. Pichai said: “Take the time to do whatever you need to do to prioritise your wellbeing.”
A spokesperson from Google confirmed that the majority of the company’s staff will work remotely until 2021. The news comes after Facebook made a similar announcement, while stating that it is unlikely that the social media business will reopen offices before July.
Google’s remote work situation
The news comes just two weeks after Pichai said that some offices would reopen in June 2020, allowing 10pc to 15pc of workers to return to the office. At the moment, only 5pc of Google employees are working onsite according to Pichai.
In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Jacquelline Fuller, head of Google.org, said: “If we can work remotely, if we can work from home, and help take some of the pressure off and flatten the curve, we will do that. We will be using science to guide us in our decision making.”
oogle because to close its EU and US offices early on in the crisis, ahead of many official government restrictions. In Ireland, the company told its 8,000 employees to work remotely from 3 March after an employee reported flu-like symptoms.
The company said that it was using the opportunity to test whether it has the capacity to allow all of its staff to work remotely to prepare for an escalation in the coronavirus situation, or if another major incident were to take place in the future.
In April, Facebook joined Microsoft in calling off all large in-person events until next year. While doing so, the company said that it is planning for how and when it can bring certain employees back to their offices. In the meantime, the company has given employees $1,000 bonuses to help cover childcare costs and any unexpected expenses that come with remote working.
The social media company said that it is prioritising the return of “critical” employees who can’t work remotely. These employees include content reviewers who work in the areas of counter-terrorism, self-harm and suicide prevention, as well as engineers working on complex hardware. On Thursday (7 May), CNBC reported that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was planning to inform employees that they will be allowed to continue working from home through the end of 2020.
Facebook went on to say that there were a number of factors involved in the decision of when to reopen offices or allow non-critical workers to return to offices, including information from public health agencies and government guidance. The company has said that offices may begin to open on 6 July, and it is likely that the company will monitor the situation and revise this date if needed.