Google tells employees in Bay Area and other U.S. locations to return to offices in April

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Google said it will end the voluntary work-from-home period and start having employees in the Bay Area and several other U.S. locations return to the office starting the week of April 4. 

“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.”

Casey said other offices in the U.S. and elsewhere will begin to return based on local conditions.

Google’s latest guidance comes a week after CNBC reported that the company had been relaxing some of its Covid-19 mandates in preparation for a return. At the time, the company hadn’t determined a new date for the official return since it last pushed off its Jan. 10 deadline amid the omicron surge.

Google said it expects most workers to come into the office three days a week and have two days of remote work.

The note from Casey included previously reported guidance such as dropping the mask mandate and testing mandates for fully vaccinated employees as well as the reopening of amenities such as cafes, restaurants, massages and shuttles. Employees entering physical workspaces still must either be fully vaccinated or have an approved accommodation.

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

During March, the company plans to “help folks transition to their new routines and aim to be fully functional in our hybrid working approach,” he wrote. The benefits team is piloting 15-minute virtual drop-in meetings with trained counselors to help with the return.

Nearly 14,000 of the company’s 156,500 full-time employees around the world have transferred to a new location or moved to fully remote work, and 85% of total applications have been approved, Casey said. Employees who need more time before returning can also request a work-from-home extension, he added. 

Google employees can work from the office more often if they choose, and some roles may need to be onsite more than three days a week “due to the nature of their work,” he wrote.

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