Google approves majority of staff requests to work remotely or relocate

People entering and exiting Google's Kings Cross offices
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Google has reportedly approved 85% of staff requests to work remotely or relocate when its offices open again, as the firm and other companies try to better accommodate employee demands in a post-pandemic working world.

The tech giant is set to ask most of its staff to return to work in their previous office locations, but will let others carry out their duties elsewhere, according to Bloomberg. An internal email to staff highlighted that around 10,000 employees applied to transfer to a new office or work from home.

Fiona Cicconi, Google’s head of human resources, stated in the email that the company rejected around 15% of applicants as their jobs required specialised equipment or face-time with customers.

“And some organisations have made a commitment to invest in key growth sites and are working to build their teams and critical mass in those particular hubs,” Cicconi added. She also said that applicants who were rejected could reapply for remote work or a transfer.

Google’s return to the office policies have angered some of its employees, with CNET reporting last month that Google executive Urs Hölzle told employees he would be working remotely from New Zealand. This reportedly upset some workers as they claimed he had been unsupportive of remote work in the past.

Last week, Google and Facebook announced their employees in the US would need to be fully vaccinated before they return to the office. Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in an email to employees that the implementation of the policy would vary depending on local conditions and regulations. The new rule is set to be implemented in the US soon before expanding to other regions in the coming months. The company also announced it would push back its office reopening from 1 September to 18 October.

In February, Google warned that the new “hybrid working” model could affect its productivity and finances. The company was concerned that social distancing measures and hybrid work models would increase costs and potentially impact its “corporate culture”.

Zach Marzouk

Zach Marzouk is a former ITPro, CloudPro, and ChannelPro staff writer, covering topics like security, privacy, worker rights, and startups, primarily in the Asia Pacific and the US regions. Zach joined ITPro in 2017 where he was introduced to the world of B2B technology as a junior staff writer, before he returned to Argentina in 2018, working in communications and as a copywriter. In 2021, he made his way back to ITPro as a staff writer during the pandemic, before joining the world of freelance in 2022.