Google sets date for return to office in Bay Area, other U.S. locations

Google announced to employees that a three-day in-office routine will begin next month. This comes after the company postponed its January 10th return in December due to rising cases of the Omicron variant.

Executives have stated they expect the March transitional period to end April 4th, when they will fully transition to a hybrid work-mode. Google is offering employees 15-minute drop-in counseling sessions to aid employees in adapting to their new model.

Employees will be given the opportunity to apply for location transfers or fully remote work. So far about 85% of applicants have been approved. 14,000 of Google’s 156,500 full-time employees globally have been approved for transfers or to work fully remote. Employees can also request extensions for their return to office dates.

“It’s been a long and challenging two years since the vast majority of our people started working from home,” wrote John Casey, Google’s vice president of global benefits in an email to employees that was viewed by CNBC. “But the advances in prevention and treatment, the steady decline in cases that we continue to see, and the improved safety measures we have implemented across our Bay Area sites now mean we can officially begin the transition to the hybrid work week.”

As Santa Clara County relaxes COVID-19 mandates, Google has followed suit. Google has lifted testing and social distancing requirements, as well as masks for vaccinated employees in most areas. Staff entering all Google facilities will however have to show proof of vaccination or have an approved accommodation, a Google protocol that previously saw a lot of heat.

Casey wrote to CNBC that the company will be testing new ways of working and will “gather insights, data, and feedback along the way.”

While Google has stated the goal of three days a week in office, some positions and teams may need to be onsite more frequently. Google will also offer all employees the opportunity to work from their offices more than three days a week if preferred.