With the expectation that most of its workers will be working from home for the rest of 2020, Google is giving all of its global employees an allowance of US$1,000, or the equivalent in their country, to purchase necessary equipment and office furniture.

In a letter to employees on Tuesday, Sunder Pichai, chief executive officer of Google and its parent company Alphabet Inc., said the organizations are approaching the return to office with a gradual, phased approach, taking both team and individual needs and preferences into account. “We are taking slow, deliberate steps to begin re-opening offices in areas where they still remain largely closed. We’re also investing more in your work-from-home setup to make sure you have what you need to be productive and comfortable.”

Read: Twitter to allow employees to work from home ‘forever’

Starting July 6, Google will start to open more buildings in more cities, he said, noting this will provide employees who need to come back to the office the opportunity to return on a limited, rotating basis.

We’ll have rigorous health and safety measures in place to ensure social distancing and sanitization guidelines are followed, so the office will look and feel different than when you left. Our goal is to be fair in the way we allocate time in the office, while limiting the number of people who come in, consistent with safety protocols.”

By September, the organization intends to further scale the rotation program. However, Pichai noted there are a limited number of employees whose roles require them to be back in the office in 2020. So for most staff, returning to the office will be voluntary through the end of the year.

Read: BMO highlights health supports for staff during coronavirus

“Moving ahead, we are looking to develop more overall flexibility in how we work. . . . We continue to study all the data and feedback you’re sharing on your current experience. I believe that ultimately these insights will lead to more flexibility and choice for employees as they consider how to work in the future.”

In the meantime, Google is sharing its traditional in-office experiences with employees virtually, focusing on health, wellness and fun. Some examples, according to Pichai, are fitness classes with online instructors, cooking and nutrition lessons with Google chefs and story time for employees’ kids.

Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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