Google to Keep Most Employees Home Until July 2021
Google has decided that most of its 200,000 employees and contractors should work from home until July 2021.
The remote-work order from Google CEO Sundar Pichai also affects other companies owned by Google's parent company, Alphabet Inc. It extends Google's previous plan to keep most of its offices closed until the end of 2020.
Google and many other major technology firms had already been telling their employees to work from home even before the World Health Organization officially called the coronavirus a pandemic on March 1.
Google had originally planned to allow many employees to begin returning to its Mountain View, California, headquarters and other offices during the summer. But the pandemic's continuing spread led Google to delay the reopening until January, and now it has led to yet another delay.
As well as protecting people from the virus, the new July 2021 date for reopening Google's offices should make it easier for workers with children to adjust to schools that aren't allowing students to return in August and September. It will also make it easier for employees to sign one-year leases if they decide to rent a home somewhere else while working outside the office.
The longer closing of Google's offices could influence other employers to do the same.
"I hope this will offer the flexibility you need to balance work with taking care of yourselves and your loved ones over the next 12 months," wrote Pichai, who is also Alphabet's CEO, in an email to employees.
The decision affects more than 123,000 employees of Google and other Alphabet companies, as well as 80,000 contractors who normally work in the companies' offices.
Pichai's email noted that Google and Alphabet have been able to reopen some offices in 42 countries, although he didn't say which ones.
Meanwhile, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has told his employees they will never have to return to the office if they don't want to.
Fujitsu Staff Can Work from Home from Now On
While workers are returning to offices in some countries around the world, Japanese company Fujitsu is allowing its employees to work from home from now on.
The change will allow around 80,000 Fujitsu workers to choose their own work hours and where to work, depending on the needs of their job and their lifestyle, the company said.
It's part of the company's "Work Life Shift" plan, which is a reaction to the changes in daily life societies are now facing following the worst of COVID-19, which some are calling the "new normal."
For some countries, like the US and UK, the new normal includes working from home, using face masks, and social distancing plans in public spaces, including restaurants, schools and offices.
Fujitsu's plan should reduce the number of people in each office, making it easier to work under social distancing guidelines. The company plans to reduce its office space by 50% by 2022 and will also start using "hot-desking," where people don't use the same desk every day.
"This is yet another sign that everything we know about offices and the future of work is being upended," tech journalist Sree Sreenivasan told BBC. "Thousands of employers and millions of employees are learning the pros and cons of the new normal."
Tech giants Google and Facebook are allowing employees to work wherever they choose for the rest of the year. And in May, Twitter told its employees they could work from home for as long as they wanted.
German Hotels Rent Rooms as Offices During Pandemic
With family and pets around, working from home can be very difficult. That's why the German hotel group BHW has started renting its rooms as offices in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Each of the rooms has a desk, high speed internet and a coffee machine – and of course, a bed if the worker needs to take a nap.
Manager of a Frankfurt Best Western hotel that is offering the rooms, Michael Mauersberger, said that guests get somewhere quiet, where the phone doesn’t ring when it shouldn’t and where they can really get work done.
Rooms can be rented in Best Western hotel for €199 ($216) per week, €49 per day, or €89 to stay for a night.
So far not many people have booked a room for work, but Mauersberger says interest is starting to grow as the pandemic continues. However, he says the idea won’t get the 130-room hotel back all the money it lost from normal bookings.
Dirk Fischer, who runs a business in Frankfurt, says he's already used the hotel for office space a couple of times and says it is exactly what he needs.
After three weeks of having to teach his children at home and the Easter vacation, he was finding it difficult to get work done. He says that at the hotel, he can have a quiet day to work and make any calls he needs to.
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