Tech companies have been recently cracking down on remote work and are enforcing their return-to-office mandates.
In an internal memo on Wednesday, Google informed its workforce that it would be tracking office badge attendance, which will reflect in employee performance reviews, to ensure that the Googlers are working in-office at least three days a week.
Employees previously approved to work fully remotely could be denied if Google determines “material changes in business need, role, team, structure or location.” The privilege will only be granted “by exception only.”
Failure to comply with the company’s three-day, in-office attendance requirement will be escalated to human resources.
In an email to staff about the updated hybrid work policy, Fiona Cicconi, Google’s chief people officer, said, “There’s just no substitute for coming together in person.”
Cicconi added, “Of course, not everyone believes in ‘magical hallway conversations,’ but there’s no question that working together in the same room makes a positive difference. Many of the products we unveiled at I/O and Google Marketing Live last month were conceived, developed and built by teams working side by side.”
To get more workers into the office, Salesforce is thinking outside the box.
In a fundraising program called “Connect for Good,” the cloud software giant will donate $10 to a local charity for each day an employee reports to the office between June 12 and June 23, Fortune reported on Wednesday.
Salesforce’s goal is to raise between $1 million and $2.5 million through this initiative.
Annie Vincent, director of corporate communications at Salesforce, said in a statement, “Giving back is deeply embedded in everything we do, and we’re proud to introduce Connect for Good to encourage employees to help raise $1 million for local nonprofits.”
According to Gizmodo, the company previously required 65% of its staff to work in the office three to four days a week. Salesforce plans to track employees’ initial badge swipes per day. The data will not include any specifics about the duration stayed in the office or how many swipes staff did per day.
In December, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff openly complained in a companywide Slack memo that newly hired remote workers are not being productive. He lamented that the subscription-as-a-service leader left the new employees isolated at home without the benefit of an office culture.
The Slack message, obtained by CNBC, read:
“How do we increase the productivity of our employees at Salesforce? New employees (hired during the pandemic in 2021 & 2022) are especially facing much lower productivity. Is this a reflection of our office policy? Are we not building tribal knowledge with new employees without an office culture? Are our managers not directly addressing productivity with their teams? Are we not investing enough time into our new employees? Do managers focus enough time and energy on onboarding new employees & achieving productivity? Is coming as a new employee to Salesforce too overwhelming? Asking for a friend. (I’m leaving this open-ended to get the broadest level of response.)”
Meta’s workforce is expected to return to the office three days a week, starting in September. However, its new policy will not impact existing workers who primarily work remotely, the Information reported. The tech giant began updating employees on its new office mandate last Thursday.
A company spokesperson said, “We’re committed to distributed work, and we’re confident people can make a meaningful impact both from the office and at home.” The social media platform’s representative added, “We’re also committed to continuously refining our model to foster the collaboration, relationships and culture necessary for employees to do their best work.”
In a March memo to employees,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that early analysis of performance data suggests that engineers perform better on average when they “work in-person with teammates at least three days a week.”
As part of the company’s “Year of Efficiency,” Zuckerberg encourages workers to build the necessary connections to work effectively and seek more opportunities to collaborate in person with colleagues.
To double down on his shift away from remote work, hiring managers at Meta have reportedly been told not to list positions as remote on job descriptions, according to Insider.
Apple requires all of its corporate employees to report to the office three days a week. CEO Tim Cook wrote in a company memo in March 2022, “For many of you, I know that returning to the office represents a long-awaited milestone and a positive sign that we can engage more fully with the colleagues who play such an important role in our lives.”
To enforce Cook’s policy, like Google and Salesforce, the iPhone maker has reportedly been taking attendance via employee badges to ensure that its workers meet the minimum in-office requirement, tweeted Platformer’s managing editor Zoë Schiffer.
According to Schiffer, some teams are telling staff that failure to comply with Apple’s office mandate could lead to them being shown the door.
In an open letter by Apple employees, the disgruntled workers asked the company to stop treating them like “school kids who need to be told when to be where and what homework to do.”
In the public plea on the Apple Together website, they wrote, “We are not asking for everyone to be forced to work from home. We are asking to decide for ourselves, together with our teams and direct manager, what kind of arrangement works best for each one of us, be that in an office, work from home, or a hybrid approach.”
Microsoft employees can work remotely up to 50% of the time. Workers who want to exceed that limit must get their schedules approved by their managers.
The company’s careers site boasts its commitment to flexibility, recognizing that it is not “one size fits all,” stating, “At Microsoft, we value and support flexibility as part of our hybrid workplace where every employee can do their best work by working the way they work best. A hybrid workplace is a mix of workstyles across work site, work location and work hours.”
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has a more relaxed attitude toward hybrid work than his tech-titan counterparts. After all, the hybrid model does benefit the company’s bottom line, as it sells a suite of employee experience apps and tools for a dispersed workforce.
“There’s a structural change, and everyone’s exercising that flexibility that they had during the pandemic now in the post-pandemic world,” said Nadella during an interview for Yahoo Finance’s 2022 All Markets Summit.
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