A cyclist rides past the Google Inc. offices at the Googleplex headquarters in Mountain View, California, United States on Thursday, February 18, 2016.
Michael Short | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Google has started holding face-to-face outdoor meetings on company premises to prepare employees to return to the offices next year.
A company spokesman told CNBC that it has begun holding “offsite offsites” or socially distant meetings on lawns and other areas on campus where authorities allow. This is a way to hire new employees and collaborate offline on important projects while the pandemic forced most employees to work from home.
“Typically, when technical leaders wanted to work together to create a product plan for the next year or come up with a new concept, they would leave the company after uninterrupted time,” said Thomas Kurian, Google Cloud CEO, at the Fortune Brainstorm conference this week. “But now that everyone is off the premises every day, how do you get people into a more physical space?”
Outdoor Face-to-Face Meetings “allows them to have more of a physically intimate team meeting than just doing everything digitally, and we’ve seen this go a long way in helping some of our teams feel more cohesive, especially for newer employees to meet their manager. ”Kurian said.
Google Cloud isn’t the only group holding these meetings – it’s a company-wide effort, Google said.
Google was the first major tech company to ask employees to stay home at the start of the pandemic, and is now experimenting with ways to slowly and safely gather people on campus. It gave workers the option to work from home until summer 2021. After finding in September that most employees wanted to return part-time, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company would try “hybrid” work-from-home models, including rearranging office settings.
Ruth Porat, CFO of Alphabet, said last week that planning to return to the offices was “a lot more complicated” than getting everyone to work from home, but hoping to maintain a collaborative spirit.
Google took a localized approach to returns when it first pulled employees out of their offices.
“Some parts of the world are mostly back to normal, other parts of the world are still affected. Instead of having a global policy, we have been very adaptable and let leaders in different cities and countries make decisions because people in one country work in a local context many ways, “said Kurian.
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