Unagi founder and CEO David Hyman told The Verge that Google is offering the 20 mph scooters to most of its U.S. employees to help with the commute to work, which most haven’t had to undertake regularly in the last two years.
The $990 scooters are available on a subscription basis, and Google will reportedly reimburse employees the discounted monthly rate of $44.10 a month, in addition to the $50 enrollment fee.
Whether free scooters will excite Googlers about resuming in-office work three days a week remains to be seen. Some Googlers challenged the company's hybrid policy in an all-hands last month: One anonymous employee invoked Bay Area traffic, sky-high gas prices and varying preferences around work environments in asking why Google's policy isn't "work from office when you want or when it makes sense to." Another complained that some teams "blanket ban" remote work and that Google rejects requests to work remotely "even if managers are supportive."
Across employers, traveling to work remains one of the biggest concerns about heading back to the office: 31% of hybrid workers across companies surveyed by Conference Board last month said they’re concerned about the increased time and cost of commuting.They’ll likely just have to get used to it at Google, where the company hasn’t shown any signs that it will concede to a remote-first model. Leaders "find it really hard to lead virtually," former Google HR chief Laszlo Bock told Bloomberg on Friday before predicting a slow, "boil the frog" return to full-time, in-office work within five years.