back to article Google to wind down pandemic work-from-home

Google employees in the United States must be in the office at least three days a week from April 4 as the internet giant winds down its work-from-home policy. The Chrome titan's campuses around northern California and other parts of America are preparing for staff to return to their campus desks and couches. It's expected …

  1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Dear Google

    I'm not working from home: being retired, I'm not working at all.

    Can I have a massage please?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dear Google

      Only if you're willing to share your DNA, biometric data, and a report on muscle tone and fat deposits with Google. All of which Google promises to anonymize before they sell it.

  2. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge

    What I learned from the Pandemic

    Is half the population here in the US would facilitate a bioweapon attack on the US by refusing to follow common sense public health policies due to an inane concept of freedom. I guess it's really true that freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose.

    1. rcxb1

      Re: What I learned from the Pandemic

      > refusing to follow common sense public health policies due to an inane concept of freedom

      That was only the excuse cynically used by the politicians. A big portion of the mob were lunatics convinced masks will kill you, and vaccines include mind control microchips.

      If you want to save democratic countries, invest more in free public education.

    2. Steve Button Silver badge

      Re: What I learned from the Pandemic

      Freedom to choose what you put into your body? Why would anyone be worried about that? If I was a young man, in my twenties, I'd have some concerns about having a jab every six months. After about 2 or 3 months the vaccine offers very little protection against catching or spreading, so mandating that only "fully vaccinated" can return to the office makes absolutely no sense. It should be a personal choice, as it's about protecting me.

      Personally, I've chosen to have it which just about makes sense at my age. However, with such a bad history I hardly feel a great trust of Big Pharma companies, and it does feel like they would make use of every trick in the book to hide side effects and to make trials look better.

      There's nothing inane about freedom.

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: What I learned from the Pandemic

        "There's nothing inane about freedom."

        "Freedom" to not wear a piece of fabric is inane.

        Freedom to leave your house is important.

        The refusal of people to wear a small amount of fabric prevents many others from leaving their house...

        Therefore the "freedom" to not wear at least a small piece of fabric is not - people claiming it are doing a massive disservice to the concept of freedom.

        1. Steve Button Silver badge

          Re: What I learned from the Pandemic

          Bit of a straw man argument there John. I was talking about people having to be vaccinated to be allowed to go into the office. Potentially to be allowed to keep doing their job. And you are arguing about a "piece of cloth"?

          1. John Robson Silver badge

            Re: What I learned from the Pandemic

            Erm no - it's not a straw man at all.

            In fact it's a response to more than just your individual post.

            Your claim that your freedom not to have a free, well tested, proven effective, medication to protect those around you is more important than the freedom for those people to be able to leave their houses with some confidence of safety. It's not, you're just being a selfish jerk (Yes, I know you have taken the vaccine, albeit apparently under duress).

            But given the numbers of people who refuse to even take the very simple step of wearing a mask during a pandemic... I can only conclude that selfish jerk is simply the default way of being for a significant (and noisy) minority.

      2. .stu

        Re: What I learned from the Pandemic

        I'm sure they are all very concerned about the provenance of the food they eat too.

    3. Uncle Slacky
      Thumb Up

      Re: What I learned from the Pandemic

      We've certainly had to retire use of the phrase "Avoid x like the plague", given the evidence that such a large proportion of the population wouldn't.

    4. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: What I learned from the Pandemic

      Translation: Ba-a-a-a-a-ah

      (enjoy your masking and hunker-in-the-bunker)

    5. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. rcxb1

    Real-estate correction

    Remember hearing about those record real estate prices outside the cities? Get ready for a crash.

    Those who unload their homes first might turn a small profit, many will break-even (but find the record high real estate prices in the cities making them feel poor, anyhow). but a great many will lose a considerable amount of cash try to unload their retreat homes in a falling market.

    I'm wouldn't mind a repeat of 2008... I didn't have enough cash on hand to pick up any of those houses going for "new car" prices (which all tripled in value after just a few years).

    1. ICL1900-G3 Bronze badge

      Re: Real-estate correction

      Living in Cornwall, I long to see the departure of the entitled ones. We have enough problems with poverty and homelessness without the cool and hip putting up the prices.

  4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    It'll be interesting to see what happens when somebody has a sneezing fit in the office.

  5. a_yank_lurker

    Managlement Strikes

    Many have found they can work efficiently from home and rarely need to darken the door of an office. The manglement at Chocolate Factory has to justify the money spent on real estate and buildings. Buildings that are too large for the staff that needs to be onsite. This points to a bigger problem for many Silly Valley companies with expensive real estate they own.

    In my case, one of the major onsite groups actually expanded into the cube farm my group was located. We had to pack up stuff into boxes and I have not seen my boxes since I packed them up. We have not heard any chatter about going into the office as many of us do not anywhere to sit. The site is rented.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Managlement Strikes

      The previous company's big wheels decided to sell their campus during pandemic times, and leased a new place not far from the old place, while most everybody was WFH.

      Seems like a fine enough idea, until they start rumbling about back to office like this, and the new place is only equipped for seating half (or less?) of the previous population. Hot desks (hotel-ing, desk sharing, whatever) are the plan of record, which go over about as well as a plate of cold dung.

      Perhaps the unspoken (but assumed by many of us in the trenches) actual plan of record is for the company to get significantly smaller.

      1. Mike 137 Silver badge

        Re: Managlement Strikes

        "Hot desks (hotel-ing, desk sharing, whatever) are the plan of record

        In one place | worked (long before Covid), there were so few 'hot' desks that unless you got in around 08:30 there were no desks left. The biggest joke was that all the desks had locking filing pedestals with different keys, so, given the 'clear desk' policy, you could never find your paperwork again.

        'Management' according to Scott Adams.

  6. the.spike

    WFH the new Normal?

    I'd like to think that WFH would become the new normal. The organisation I work for (a small company) has changed all the office based contracts to be remote. The team I'm in meet once a month in the office. And that seems to be working for us (obviously lots of video chats etc etc).

    Many people I talk to say that if a role is not at least mostly remote then they aren't going to be interested. And if they are forced back into the office they'll leave.

    It will be interesting to see who will actually votes with their feet.

    I think it would be a crying shame to go back to 100% office based working. The benefits of not are far greater for the worker and the environment. It's just managers who can't manage who they can't see we need to work on..

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: WFH the new Normal?

      consider the following as well:

      a) the availability of high speed internet

      b) the skyrocketing (soon to be worse) cost of gasoline/petrol/whatever-you-call-it

      c) the time saved by NOT commuting


      but the cost of living close to where you work is ALSO a major consideration, and can easily be turned upside down when you switch jobs... (as in you live in an expensive place because of old job, and now you have a long commute to go with the expensive cost at the NEW one until you move, etc. etc.)

      In the tech industry, work-from-home makes more sense

      (I have been doing this as a contractor for DECADES)

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Offices are over-rated. I've spent about a third of my career working from home... and I've been at it 25-30 years, depending on how you add it all up.

  8. Dinanziame Silver badge

    Depends a lot on how you work

    It's certainly easier to code from home (assuming your can isolate yourself from noisy kids!) But I feel there's a lot less communication happening between team members, and especially for new members, it's way more difficult to know what's going on, even with daily video conference meetings.

    1. FlossyThePig

      Re: Depends a lot on how you work

      Many years ago, when I started working for International Computers Limited (they weren't ICL then) I had a colleague whose wife was "working from home" as a freelance programmer for F International and probably not able to isolate herself from noisy kids.

      Four more weeks to go and I get my carpet slippers and pipe. I'll still be programming (not coding) for my own pleasure and not for Megacorp International.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Depends a lot on how you work

      Yes, less communication can be an issue in some cases, but there's also the issue some people have working from home. Not everyone can provide a quiet, private place to work from home. They either don't have the space, have other family there, possibly also trying to work from home or maybe noisy neighbours. It's a great opportunity for those who can work from, not so much if it's been two tears of hell and low productivity, possibly even longer hours because of the lower productivity. Then there's the people who can't get into "the groove" of working alone at home and thrive on social contact (CAUTION: Stereotype alert!! Possibly not an issue for the nerds and geeks :-)))

      1. Screepy

        Re: Depends a lot on how you work

        Agreed, there are a couple of younger colleagues in my team who have basically perched on the end of their beds as they attempted to WFH for 2 years. That is a horrific way to work.

        For them our office re-opening is a godsend.

        What does annoy me is when management start saying things like, 'team X must be at office on Tuesday and Thursday' but then give no real reason why, other than it'll be good to sit together.

        Er... no. Not for me it won't. I find it very distracting when working on a complicated problem and I've got Rob on the help desk repeatedly bellowing, "No, RIGHT-click on the desktop" sitting 2 desks away from me.

        Our current senior manager wants the Tech Ops team to be in a couple of days a week to sit near the help desk so we can offer advice/help...oh you mean just like we've been doing on Teams for the last 2 years then?!


    3. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Depends a lot on how you work

      things like IRC and Slack help mitigate this

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