Google office
Googlers raised their complaints about remote work policies at a company all-hands on Thursday.
Photo: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Google employees say its return-to-office plan is unfair

Googlers said the company enforces remote work policies for some, but not others.

Some Google employees are calling out the company for unevenly applying its remote work policies, Business Insider reported Tuesday. Google is bringing Bay Area employees back to the office at least three days per week starting April 4. But while some team members are spared from in-person work policies, others are no longer allowed to work remotely, employees say.

Employees raised their complaints at a company all-hands last Thursday, submitting questions through a system called Dory. Two popular questions involved remote work, according to Insider.

"Google made record profits through the pandemic (and WFH), traffic has already increased (at least in Bay Area) with gas prices at record high, and people have different preferences for WFH vs work from office," one question said. "Why is the RTO policy not 'Work from office when you want or when it makes sense to?'" Another submitter said some teams "blanket ban" remote work, with Google rejecting applications "even if managers are supportive."

Workers told Insider that Google's remote work policies felt arbitrary. One employee said a colleague was barred from remote work even though their manager was allowed to work from home. Bay Area employees who wish to work remotely from other states might face pay cuts: Google will lower pay if employees relocate to cities like Durham, North Carolina, and Houston, Texas.

This isn't the first time Google's remote work plans have upset its employees. In July, CNET reported that employees were angered by "hypocritical" remote work policies, allowing senior executive Urs Hölzle to work indefinitely from New Zealand while lower-level employees had to go through an application process.

Other big tech companies are also opening their offices for corporate employees in the coming weeks. But not everyone's requiring in-person work. Twitter will let employees work from home forever, if they want. The pandemic has made workers accustomed to a flexible work environment, and many find required, in-person work unappealing.