Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai gestures during a session at the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, on January 22, 2020.
Fabrice Coffrini | AFP | Getty Images
Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said the company expects to bring the bulk of its employees back to work by the end of the year on a rotating schedule in an effort to preserve social distancing. But the majority of people will still be working remotely.
“I expect by the end of the year, we’ll be at 20% to 30% capacity. Which may still mean we are able to get 60% of our employees in once a week, or something like that,” Pichai said on “The Vergecast” podcast.
The company will start by bringing 10% to 15% of workers in the office at any time, Pichai said. Alphabet, which is the parent company Google, will prioritize employees who need to be in the offices, such as those who need to access certain equipment or products. As it ramps up operations, Pichai said he believes the company will cap office attendance at 20% to 30% of workers in the office at any given time.
“That’s what we mean, where a vast majority of employees we think will likely work from home through the end of the year,” Pichai said. Google has fewer than 5% of global employees working from offices currently.
Pichai had laid out Google’s reopening strategy in an employee memo that was obtained by CNBC in early May.
Tech companies had been one of the first groups to adapt to working remotely as the Covid-19 pandemic began to spread in the U.S. in March.
Twitter and Square, both under CEO Jack Dorsey, said in the past week that they will allow employees to work from home permanently, taking a more liberal approach. The majority of Facebook employees will be allowed to work remotely through the end of 2020, the company said in early May.
Pichai warned that productivity is down in some parts of the company, and he’s unsure how working remotely will play out as employees begin brainstorming next year’s products. So he’s going to be more conservative on keeping people out of the office, but is studying what works well and what doesn’t.
“But coming out of it all, do we all learn and have more flexibility in how we think about this? I think so, yeah. That’s how I would bet,” Pichai said.
Listen to the full episode of The Vergecast here.
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