Google to Track In-Office Attendance as Part of Latest RTO Crackdown

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Google is toughening up its hybrid work policy, telling employees that they’ll be cracking down on those who aren’t coming to the office at least three days a week.

According to internal memos seen by Wall Street Journal and CNBC, the tech giant will be tracking how often employees are scanning their badge when visiting the office, and including those numbers in employee performance reviews. 

Google’s Chief People Officer, Fiona Cicconi, backed up the move by stating “there’s no substitute for coming together in person,” while others have criticised the way it’s clashed with the company’s innovative people strategy and a historically strong focus on talent attraction and retention.

“We know that a number of people moved to fully remote work for many good reasons, as we all adjusted to the pandemic. For those who are remote and who live near a Google office, we hope you’ll consider switching to a hybrid work schedule. Our offices are where you’ll be most connected to Google’s community. Going forward, we’ll consider new remote work requests by exception only.”

Excerpt of Google's internal memo, dated June 8

Google will periodically track whether their U.S. employees are adhering to the office attendance policy using badge data, and executives are currently reviewing local requirements to implement in other countries, another  documents states.

If workers don’t follow the policy after an extended period of time, human resources will reach out about “next steps," reported CNBC.

"I'm getting tired of watching employers and employees duke it out over returning to the office," said digital transformation expert Laila Luopa in a viral social media post. "It seems like each week another employer is making headline news in demanding workers to come back to the office. Don't you get more bees with honey rather than vinegar?

"Instead of strict policies demanding employee time in-office, why aren't more employers considering incentives to encourage them to come back to the office?"

In a statement to CNBC, Google spokesperson Ryan Lamont said, “our hybrid approach is designed to incorporate the best of being together in person with the benefits of working from home for part of the week. Now that we’re more than a year into this way of working, we’re formally integrating this approach into all of our workplace policies.”

Lamont added that the badge data viewed by company leaders is aggregate data and not individualized.

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