As Google prepares to bring workers back to its office, the company is relaxing some of its Covid-19 workplace policies, including a rule requiring U.S. employees to be vaccinated. But workers will still have to be vaccinated if they plan to use the company’s office.
In an email to employees in the San Francisco Bay Area last week, Google said it was easing some of its epidemic restrictions. Employees will no longer need to undergo weekly testing to enter its US office. Also, with the exception of Santa Clara County, office staff will no longer need to wear masks – the home of Google’s main Mountain View headquarters.
Google also said it plans to restore many of its popular office facilities, such as fitness centers, cafeterias, massage services and commuter shuttles. CNBC had earlier reported a change in policies.
“Given the current situation in Bay Area, we are pleased that our employees who choose to come now have the ability to access more space and services on site,” Google wrote in a statement.
Google spokeswoman Laura Lee Eriksson said the company has dropped the requirement for U.S. employees to provide proof of vaccination status or apply for medical or religious immunity.
Last year, Google said employees who failed to do so would be put on administrative leave and eventually fired. Ms. Ericsson has not explained why the company has changed its position.
Like many companies, Google has had to adapt its policies to the ever-changing epidemic. He will tell employees when to start working on a hybrid schedule that has repeatedly pushed back plans that mix time in remote work and office.
Google’s offices are a key component of its work culture, and the company, like other technology companies, has resisted going completely remote.
Instead of a global mandate, Google has repeatedly stated that it will allow different regions to decide when to start requiring workers to arrive a few times a week. In the United States, Google said it is still evaluating the right time to start its hybrid work schedule and has not set a date for workers to return to the office.
While returning to the office is still voluntary, Google said about 30 percent of its two area employees came to the office last week.