With California set to end its color-tiered reopening system on June 15 as COVID-19 infections decrease and vaccination supplies increase, some of Silicon Valley’s largest tech companies are slowly reopening their campuses.
Google started welcoming back employees to some of its U.S. campuses on a voluntary basis since April, a company spokesperson wrote in an email to this news organization, though a decision has not yet been made on the reopening timeframe for its Bay Area offices. Facebook plans to reopen its Menlo Park headquarters at 10% capacity starting on May 10.
SAP, which has a Palo Alto location, opened its offices this week at less than 5% daily capacity for “employees who choose to return to the office for business critical needs,” a spokesperson said. Intuit also recently announced its plans to cautiously reopen.
“We intend to be deliberate and data-driven in our approach. … We don’t know all the answers yet,” the Mountain View financial software company announced in a blog post on April 20.
Tech companies were among the first to ask employees to work from home during the COVID-19 outbreak, and now their reopening plans could provide a glimpse as to what office life might look like post-pandemic.
Most local tech companies that have announced reopening plans are welcoming employees back to the office on a voluntary basis for the remainder of 2021, and many indicated that they are looking to adopt a hybrid work model that will maintain some aspects of remote work indefinitely after the health crisis.
Google said its employees will not be required to return to the office until September, and when they do come back, the company plans to pilot a “flexible hybrid work week model,” where teams can work in the office some days and work from home on others, according to the spokesperson.
The work week entails at least three days in the office, according to a New York Times report that cited an email from Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, to staff. Capacity of Google offices will be dependent on various factors including vaccine availability and lower COVID-19 cases, a spokesperson said.
Similarly, HP expects to implement a hybrid model, “where the role of the office evolves to focus more on collaboration,” a spokesperson wrote in an email.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said last September in an interview during The Atlantic Festival that there were “some things that actually work really well virtually” and the company would not “return to the way we were,” though he didn’t provide specific details.
VMware will be offering employees the choice to permanently work from home as part of the company’s digital-first approach, a company spokesperson wrote in an email to this news organization. Under the program, the company will allow employees to work “from any location that accelerates their productivity and advances their personal and…