School-like rules? Google to track employee badges to ensure work from office: Report

Reports suggest that Google is having a tough time bringing its employees back to the office despite operating in a hybrid model, that is, work-from-office thrice a week. As per CNBC reports, Google now plans to track employees’ attendance and movement within the office, which might be factored in during performance reviews. As expected, the move is not going well with staffers. A few employees even told the publication that the company is treating staffers like “schoolchildren.”

An internal document obtained by CNBC draws attention to the attendance-tracking measure instated to help managers track “who hasn’t been in the office frequently enough”.

Additionally, Google employees who previously received approval for remote operations will now have that status reevaluated.

The CNBC report cites a Google spokesperson who noted the badge data collected is aggregated for company leaders.

The spokesperson adds, “Now that we’ve fully transitioned to the hybrid work week, company leaders can see reports showing how their teams are adopting the hybrid work model.” Google clarified that the company does not share or include individual badge data in its internal reports. The spokesperson also said the company was “limiting remote work to exception only.”

Also read | EU’s new antitrust charges to strike Google’s most successful ads model

Why does Google want to switch to the work-from-office model?

The report suggests that Google wants to make optimum use of its expansive offices, at least the ones in the US. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Google was known for its various on-campus perks for employees, including massages, yoga classes, and laundry services. However, several employee benefits were scrapped to cut down expenses amid macroeconomic tribulations

Many Google workers also want to continue working remotely owing to the cost involved in relocation. 

Chris Schmidt, a Software engineer at Google and a member of the Alphabet Workers Union-CWA, questions Google’s strict hybrid work policy as there are not enough desks for workers.

Schmidt told CNBC, “New York City workers do not even have enough desks and conference rooms for workers to use comfortably.”

The report points out that Google’s process of providing lockers to let employees store personal items overnight is underway. Google suggests that its hybrid work has been in place for a year, and changes are bound to happen.

Watch | Google’s Ads violate Antitrust laws, EU says

It seems that companies across the tech industry are strugglling to get people back to office as many employees are struggling to follow up with the new policy. TCS is one of the companies that is asking its employees to come back to the office and work, but facing the same problem.

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