As Google rethinks the remote work, it will need new employee perks

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  • An employee survey revealed that just 8% of Googlers want to return to the office full time after the pandemic.
  • Meanwhile, CEO Sundar Pichai says the company is thinking about a more ‘flexible’ approach to office work.
  • As Googlers continue to work from home, the company will need to find new ways to attract talent from competitors. This week, we saw it employ one smart tactic: helping employees pay back student loans.
  • Are you a Google insider with insight to share? You can contact this reporter securely using the encrypted messaging app Signal (+1-628-228-1836) or encrypted email ([email protected]) on a nonwork device.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Google employees will almost certainly be stuck working from home until next summer at the very least, but what happens then?

This week, Google published the results of a survey which asked its employees how they felt about eventually returning to their offices. While 62% of Googlers said they eventually want to return to offices on some days, only 8% said they wanted to come in every day of the week.

A Google spokesperson confirmed the survey was conducted across employees globally, but some of the regional data is also quite revealing.

In a survey of more than 15,000 employees across Google’s EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) offices, obtained by Business Insider, 60% of Googlers said they would like to work from their assigned office between 1-4 days per week.

Meanwhile, 77% of EMEA employees cited a desire to better balance their work and home life as being a primary reason to not be in the office every day.

The data may explain why Google is currently rethinking its approach to office work.

In comments made this week, CEO Sundar Pichai said that the company was looking at “hybrid” models for the future, though he emphasized that he believes there is still a need for some level in-person collaboration. 

“I see the future as being more flexible,” he said.

A flexible setup could be attractive for prospective new employees, but the perks of the Google offices – free food, massages, onsite gyms, gourmet snacks – have long been one of the most attractive perks of the gig.

As the pandemic rages on and the company considers a flexible future, Google will need to think about other ways to tantalize tech talent away from competitors — and hold onto current employees missing all of the office benefits.

With many of its employees paying exceptionally high rental prices in Google’s home Bay Area, the company may be pressured to be even more “flexible” with some employees as the office starts to matter less.

In a recent survey, two-thirds of workers in San Francisco said they would leave the area entirely if they had the option to work from home permanently.

As remote work becomes more ingrained, Google is going to need new tactics to attract talent, and this week it employed a smart new tactic to do so: helping employees pay off their student loans.

The company said it will match up to $2,500 per employee per year, starting with full-time US employees, in what could be a major talent pull for the company.

But as the months of remote work go on, Google may be forced to find new ways to fend off rivals in attracting new blood while keeping its workforce operating remotely.

In April, the company added eight extra week to its carers leave policy to support working parents. It’s also supplied employees with a $1,000 allowance for home office equipment. 

But for the time being, employees can’t expense perks such as food or fitness equipment, which they would normally get for free at the office.

As the months of remote work go on, perhaps Google will also put these on the menu, too.

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