By Tripp Mickle 

Alphabet Inc.'s Google announced a series of moves to offer employees more workplace flexibility, allowing a fifth of its staff to work from home permanently and another fifth of workers to shift to a different geographic location.

In an email on Wednesday, Alphabet Chief Executive Sundar Pichai said the company envisions that about 20% of staff would work from home on a permanent basis, while another 20% of staff would shift to new offices. The remaining 60% of staff will work from their current location. Employees will have to apply for both location-change options, with approval being up to their managers.

Google is also moving to a hybrid workweek, where employees work from offices about three days a week, and two days "wherever they work best," Mr. Pichai said in the email.

The company also will offer four weeks per year where staff can work from anywhere with manager approval, a move that aims to give employees more flexibility around summer and holiday travel.

"The future of work is flexibility," Mr. Pichai said. He said the changes aimed to help staff do their best work.

Google has been at the forefront of the move by tech companies to relax requirements that the workforce be in the office. Salesforce Inc., Microsoft Corp. and others have adopted hybrid-work policies where staff will be able to work remotely during part of the week.

Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has said he expects as much as half of the company's workforce -- currently numbering more than 45,000 -- to work from home within 10 years.

The flexibility embraced by tech contrasts with major banks such as Wells Fargo & Co. and JPMorgan, which expect most of their workforces to return to the office following the pandemic.

The closure of offices during the pandemic has forced major employers to reevaluate the value of having people in the same physical space. With tools such as Zoom allowing people to continue to meet remotely, many companies are adopting a hybrid approach, noting that offices remain important to collaborating and preserving a workplace culture.

Google, which has 140,000 employees, is headquartered in Mountain View, Calif. and the majority of its staff work in the Bay Area. However, it has offices in 19 states, with campus locations including New York City, Atlanta and Austin, Texas.

Mr. Pichai said that compensation will be adjusted for employees who change locations.

Write to Tripp Mickle at Tripp.Mickle@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 05, 2021 15:57 ET (19:57 GMT)

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