Google employees rally against three-day office mandate, citing disregard for professionalism | Mint
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Business News/ Technology / News/  Google employees rally against three-day office mandate, citing disregard for professionalism

Google employees rally against three-day office mandate, citing disregard for professionalism

Google employees are resisting the company's requirement to work in the office for a minimum of three days each week, which is now tied to their performance evaluations. The Alphabet Workers Union expressed concerns over attendance tracking practices.

For representation purposes. (AP)Premium
For representation purposes. (AP)

Google employees are resisting the tech company's requirement for employees to work in the office for a minimum of three days each week, reported Bloomberg.

Bloomberg reported that according to a statement from the Alphabet Workers Union, representing both contract and direct employees at Google, Chris Schmidt, a software engineer at Google, expressed concerns about a sudden shift in prioritizing attendance tracking practices over employees' professionalism, which has occurred without clear guidelines and is now tied to their performance evaluations.

Reportedly, in an email sent on Wednesday, Google, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., informed its employees that the company anticipated the majority of staff members to resume regular office attendance.

"Not everyone believes in 'magical hallway conversations,' but there's no question that working together in the same room makes a positive difference," wrote Chief People Officer Fiona Cicconi in the email, which was reviewed by Bloomberg. 

According to Cicconi, numerous products showcased at Google I/O, the company's annual developer conference, and Google Marketing Live event in May were the result of collaborative efforts from teams working together in close proximity. 

Cicconi further stated that attendance will now play a role in employees' performance evaluations, and teams will begin sending reminders to individuals who frequently miss office attendance, except in specific cases like air-quality-control warnings in Canada and the US East Coast this week. Google will now only consider new remote work requests in exceptional circumstances, as mentioned by Cicconi.

The Alphabet Workers Union has reported a membership of over 1,400 individuals. At the end of the year, Google had a workforce of over 190,000 employees, including both direct hires and contract workers.

In an earlier plan, Google had intended to have employees return to the office for three days a week in April of the previous year. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2021, the company announced that approximately 20% of its workforce would have the option to work remotely on a full-time basis.

In January, Alphabet implemented its most significant workforce reduction to date, eliminating over six percent of its employees, which amounted to approximately 12,000 staff members. Additionally, the company has been actively working on reducing its physical office space after revealing its intention to invest $7 billion in new offices and data centers in 2021. In its April first-quarter earnings report, Alphabet disclosed that it had incurred expenses of $564 million in connection with downsizing its office spaces.

"Our hybrid approach is designed to incorporate the best of being together in person with the benefits of working from home for part of the week," Ryan Lamont, a Google spokesperson, said in a statement. 

Lamont added,"Now that we're more than a year into this way of working, we're formally integrating this approach into all of our workplace policies."

According to Schmidt, a software engineer at Google, implementing a uniform return-to-office policy disregards the unique life circumstances of employees. Schmidt emphasized the need for employees to have a say in shaping policies that affect their lives, aiming to establish working conditions that are equitable, transparent, and clearly defined for everyone involved.



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Published: 09 Jun 2023, 04:56 PM IST
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