Google has more than 100,000 employees, enough to fill a small city. Soon they may all be working from home some of the time.
"I see the future as being more flexible. We firmly believe that being in-person, being together, having a sense of community is super important when you have to solve hard problems and create something new, so we don't see that changing," Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google parent company Alphabet, told Time on Wednesday . "But we do think we need to create more flexibility and more hybrid models."
Results from a Google employee survey, posted Tuesday on Twitter, show that a full 62 percent of Googlers think they could do their best work only going into the office sometimes. It seems that idea got more popular as the pandemic has dragged on, as only 53 percent supported partial work-from-home in May. Ten percent of Google employees said they still do their best work even if they never went back.
The announcement is the latest from major tech companies like Twitter and Facebook who have shifted to more remote work during the pandemic. Twitter, in particular, has taken the most expansive position on this issue, with CEO Jack Dorsey announcing in May that employees could work from home “forever” if they chose to.
Meanwhile, other large firms have begun gingerly sending employees back, such as JPMorgan Chase’s decision to have some senior employees return to the office in late September.
President Trump, who has aggressively pushed to re-open workplaces despite the more than 201,000 deaths due to coronavirus in the U.S., inaccurately tweeted his approval of JPMorgan’s decision.
Congratulations to JPMorgan Chase for ordering everyone BACK TO OFFICE on September 21st. Will always be better than working from home!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 11, 2020
The rising number of high-paid tech and finance workers telecommuting is already impacting the expensive urban centers like San Francisco where they live. Some have decided to leave altogether, causing rents to fall in the cities for people who stay.