Alphabet’s Google is relaxing a number of its restrictions imposed on its workforce during the Coronavirus pandemic.

CNBC reported that Google is dropping some Covid-related mandates for staff, and restoring perks back to its headquarters as it prepares to bring workers back to the office.

The move comes as infections of Covid-19 eases in the US and elsewhere, as vaccine takeup helps lowers hospitalisations and deaths. As of February 2022, the official worldwide death toll from Covid-19 is 5.92 million people.

Google Central Saint Giles

Easing restrictions

CNBC reported that Google’s real estate and workplace services VP David Radcliffe wrote an email to San Francisco Bay Area staff this week. In the memo, he explained the company is relaxing some rules around vaccines, testing, social distancing and masks.

Separately, a Google spokesperson told CNBC that the company has reversed course and will not require vaccinations as a condition of employment for American staff, but the spokesperson declined to offer further details.

Last July it should be remembered Google (and Facebook/Meta) became the first two tech giants to require their staff to be vaccinated against Covid-19, when they return to offices or campuses.

This prompted pushback from a small section of Google staff, after 600 staff signed a manifesto opposing firm’s widened Covid-19 vaccine mandate on workforce.

But Google stood firm.

In December Google clear to its staff the consequences if they don’t follow its vaccination rules and regulations. It told Google staff that they will lose pay – and would eventually be fired – if they didn’t comply with the company’s Covid-19 vaccination policy.

However now these strict vaccine requirements are being eased.

Office reopening

Radcliffe’s email this week meanwhile has also said that staff perks such as massages and access to informal spaces in the office will be returning.

All of these offices perks were of course suspended during the pandemic.

Google is in the process of reopening its offices and campuses, and is opting for the hybrid working model, where staff comes into the office at least three days a week.

It is reported said 30 percent of Google employees in the area came into the office over the past week, but the return remains voluntary.

Other tech firms are allowing staff to ask for full time remote working capabilities.

Last week Microsoft announced that it is reopening its Washington State and California Bay area offices campuses.

Google has also reportedly lifted the testing requirement in its Bay Area offices, which had applied even to vaccinated employees.

In addition, Google is dropping its social distancing requirement and masks for vaccinated employees in most areas, noting that the few cities still requiring masks are likely to drop them soon.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

Recent Posts

AT&T Admits Data Breach Impacted “Nearly All” Customers

American telecommunications giant AT&T admits that “nearly all” customer accounts were compromised in 2022 breach

2 days ago

Elon Musk’s X Breached DSA Rules, EU Finds

X's Blue checks 'used to mean trustworthy sources of information. Now our preliminary view is…

2 days ago

Japan’s SoftBank Acquires AI Chip Start-up Graphcore

SoftBank Group has purchased another British chip firm, with the acquisition of Bristol-based Graphcore Ltd…

2 days ago

Samsung AI-Upgraded Bixby Voice Assistant Coming This Year

Samsung reportedly confirms it will launch the upgraded voice assistant Bixby this year, that will…

3 days ago

Next Neuralink Brain Implant Coming Soon, Says Musk

Despite an issue with first Neuralink implant in a patient, Elon Musk says second brain…

3 days ago

EU Accepts Apple’s Legal Commitments To Open NFC Access

Legal commitment over Apple's NFC-based mobile payments system, which is to be opened to rival…

3 days ago