Big Tech takes the first steps to get workers back to the office


Uber signage is seen as an employee sits at the entrance to the ridesharing giant's Hong Kong office on March 10, 2017.

Uber signage is seen as an employee sits at the entrance to the ridesharing giant’s Hong Kong office on March 10, 2017.
Photo: Anthony Wallace / AFP (fake images)

Although the covid-19 pandemic is still furious Around the world, big tech companies seem to be encouraged by the recent developments about the last months and they are taking the first steps to bring their workers back to the office.

This week, Uber and Facebook announced deadlines for a small percentage of its workforce to return to some company facilities. Uber will reopen its Mission Bay offices in San Francisco on Monday with 20% occupancy, while Facebook plans to reopen select Bay Area offices on an ongoing basis in early May with up to 10% maximum seating capacity. Microsoft It will also open its headquarters in Redmond, Washington and nearby campuses on a limited basis on Monday.

Going back to the office will be volunteering at Uber, Facebook, and Microsoft at this time.

Uber spokeswoman Lois Van Der Laan told Gizmodo on Saturday that as cities carefully return to a new normal, so will Uber. Returning to the office will be done voluntarily, he said, adding that Uber’s work from local police has been extended until Sept. 13.

Van Der Lann said the company’s reopening protocols are in line with public health guidelines.

“Our office reopening protocols meet (or exceed) global, national and local public health guidelines, and are developed in partnership with public health experts and health and safety partners,” he said in an email. “Employees returning to the workplace must take virtual training, sign a COVID-19 Acknowledgment and Precautions form, and take a daily health exam (including temperature check) at home to qualify for return.”

Other measures implemented include safety signs, social distancing signs, six feet (approximately two meters) of space between desks, and mandatory face covers during the initial reopening phase. Uber is also increasing its cleaning services for the office and says employees with symptoms, or who have sick family members, should stay home. When it comes to vaccines, Uber told Gizmodo that they won’t be a requirement at this reopening stage.

Facebook told Gizmodo on Saturday that it was moving from a single global job from the start date to a site-by-site approach. The company said employees have been given the option to work from home until July 2, and that after that date, any employee who is not a full-time remote worker can continue to work from home for up to a month later. your office reopens at 50%. capacity.

According to Facebook, the latest data suggests that the soonest the company can open its largest sites to 50% capacity will be after September 7.

“The health and safety of our employees and neighbors in the community is our top priority and we are taking a measured approach to reopening offices,” Facebook spokeswoman Chloe Meyere told Gizmodo. “Upon returning to the office, we have a number of security protocols in place including physical distancing and masks required at all times when we are in an office and, when possible, weekly testing requirements for anyone working on site. We will continue to work with experts to ensure our return-to-office plans prioritize everyone’s health and safety. ”

Many of Facebook’s offices, depending on where they are located, are in a different phase of reopening. To determine how and when to reopen, the company primarily looks at local health data, specifically local case rates, vaccination rates, and local access to tests and treatments, among other factors.

In terms of vaccinations, Facebook will not require employees to be vaccinated to return to the office at this time. The company says the vaccine is safe and encourages employees to get the vaccine as long as they are eligible. Has recently launched a tool to help people find out where and when they can get vaccinated.

Microsoft Executive Vice President Kurt DelBene said in a blog post that Microsoft work sites in 21 countries had been able to house additional workers at their facilities. Employees working at these sites represent approximately 20% of the company’s global workforce. Moving forward, the company will focus on a hybrid workplace model.

Regarding its Redmond office, DelBene said Microsoft had been monitoring local health data for months and had determined that the office could safely accommodate more employees on site while meeting Washington state capacity limits. .

“As we monitor progress against the virus in the region and continue to evaluate our guidance, employees working at Redmond job sites or nearby campuses have the option of returning to those facilities or continuing to work remotely, and also they have the flexibility to make it a mix of both, ”wrote DelBene.

He said Microsoft had evaluated all of its work sites to understand what adjustments were necessary to allow for social distancing and meet local health standards. Employees on site will receive supplies such as disinfectant wipes and face covers. Microsoft has also limited capacity in conference rooms, implemented attendance strategies and posted signs in common areas to ensure social distancing, among other measures.

Gizmodo reached out to Microsoft on Saturday to comment on whether vaccinations will be required for its workers returning to the office, but we received no response at press time. We will make sure to update this blog if we do.

As for other big tech companies, The Verge reported that Google’s plans to return to the office are uncertain at this time. In 2020, Google said would allow its employees to work from home until September of this year. Apple CEO Tim Cook said in December that it seemed likely that most teams would not return to the office before June 2021, according to Bloomberg. Twitter and SpotifyMeanwhile, they are allowing employees to work from home permanently if they wish.

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