Google will reimburse employees up to $1,000 to pay for equipment to help them work from home, CEO Sundar Pichai wrote to employees on Tuesday.
He also detailed how the company will slowly reopen its offices, starting by rotating employees through offices at 10% capacity on July 6, and working up to around 30% capacity in September. This echoes statements Pichai made earlier in May.
The move shows how one of the world's most highly valued companies is attempting to bring back normal operations following the onset of coronavirus, which has killed over 347,000 people to date and impacted Google parent Alphabet's business. Google was one of the first companies to tell all employees to work from home, and has managed expectations throughout the pandemic, at one point informing them that they could not expense items like food (to replace free food served in cafeterias) or gym memberships.
"This will give Googlers who need to come back to the office — or, capacity permitting, who want to come back — the opportunity to return on a limited, rotating basis (think: one day every couple of weeks, so roughly 10 percent building occupancy)," Pichai wrote in the email, which was published on a Google blog.
He also noted that offices would be different. "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."
Managers will tell employees if they must go back by June 10, and for all other employees, coming back will be voluntary, Pichai wrote. Those who are interested should speak with their managers, he wrote.
The timeline for returning to offices is the same for contractors, who make up a significant portion of Google''s overall workforce, as it is for employees. If temps, vendors or contractors need more than what they've received, they should contact their employers, the company said.