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How tech companies are trying woo

How tech companies are trying woo:

This month, Google workers went back to their mostly empty offices and were told to take it easy. “Office time should not only be useful but also fun.” Look around a little bit. Don’t schedule meetings back-to-back.

Also, don’t forget to go to the private concert by Lizzo, who is one of the most well-known pop stars in the country. If that wasn’t enough, the company is also planning “pop-up events” that will have “food and swag,” which is “every Googler’s favorite pair.

But when Google workers in Boulder, Colorado, were given mouse pads with a sad-eyed cat on them, they were reminded of what they were giving up. Under the pet, it said, “You’re not going to RTO, right?”
“Return to the office” is what “R.T.O.” stands for. Because of the pandemic, it happened. It’s a way to remember that COVID-19 caused many companies to leave empty office buildings and cubicles. The pandemic showed that just because you’re at work doesn’t mean you’re more productive. Even though they couldn’t meet in person, some businesses did well.

How tech companies are trying woo
How tech companies are trying woo:

After two years of video meetings and Slack chats, many companies are eager to get their workers back to their desks. On the other hand, the employees might not be so happy to go back to commuting in the morning, sharing bathrooms, and wearing clothes that aren’t workout clothes during the day.
So tech companies with a lot of money and empty offices are putting out the fun wagon while making it clear that most people have to go back to work at least a few days a week.

Lizzo will play for Google employees this month at an amphitheater near the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California. When the Microsoft offices in Redmond, Washington, reopened at the end of February, employees were treated to live music from local bands, tastings of beer and wine, and even classes on how to make terrariums.

The CEO of the chip company Qualcomm, Cristiano Amon, went to a happy hour in San Diego to celebrate the first full week back at work. Several thousand employees got free food, drinks, and T-shirts. The company also started having weekly events like “Take a Break Tuesday” snack stands and “Wellness Wednesday” group fitness classes.

Adam Galinsky, a professor at Columbia University’s business school, said, “These parties and perks show that companies know workers don’t want to come back to work as often as they used to.” He also said that, at least for now, companies are choosing to reward workers for going to work instead of punishing them for staying home.

Before COVID, the biggest tech companies spent billions of dollars building offices that were works of art and showed how successful they were. People have believed for a long time that working together in person is still better for fostering creativity, inspiring innovation, and giving people a shared sense of purpose. Those shiny, full-of-perks offices are proof that this is still true.
But for many employees who liked being able to work from home, going back to the office, no matter how nice it is, is like going back to school at the end of the summer. It looks like not many people want to go back five days a week.

Megan is an internal Google site where employees can share memes. One of the most popular posts was a picture of a company cafeteria with the caption, “RTO is just bumping into each other and saying, “We should get lunch soon,” until one of you quits Google.

Nick Bloom, an economics professor at Stanford University who talks to 5,000 workers every month, found that most of them wanted to go back to work two or three times a week. One-third of them would rather not go back to the office ever again.

Mr. Bloom said that if people didn’t have to drive to work, they would save an hour every day. “You can see why employees won’t start coming to work for free bagels or to play Ping-Pong,” he said. According to surveys, the main reason people go to work is to see their coworkers in person.

Google’s hybrid work schedule began on April 4, after a few delays. Most employees now have to spend a few days a week in U.S. offices. On Monday, Apple employees slowly started going back to work. At first, they were only supposed to come in once a week.

David Radcliffe, Google’s vice president of real estate and workplace services, sent an email to employees in the San Francisco Bay Area on March 31. He said that the company wanted to make the return to work “truly special.

Google has been giving its employees luxury buses with Wi-Fi for years to help them get to and from work while being more productive and comfortable. Now, the business is taking the next step. As a way to help employees get around, it is starting a program that will pay back the $49 a month it costs to rent an electric scooter. Google also wants to try out different office layouts to keep up with the way people work, which is always changing.

As part of a hybrid work schedule, when Microsoft employees went back to the office in February, they were greeted with “appreciation events” and lawn games like cornhole and life-size chess. There were classes on how to paint on canvases and make spring baskets. The campus bar became a garden where people could drink beer, wine, and “mocktails.

Free pizza, sandwiches, specialty coffees, and drinks were all available. Microsoft paid for food trucks that served barbecue, fried chicken, tacos, gyros, and Korean food.
Microsoft is different from other tech companies in that employees have to pay for their own food at the office. One worker was surprised by how many people came because the food was free.

Mr. Bloom said that companies need to figure out how to find a good balance between letting workers set their own schedules and making them come in on certain days to get the most out of their office time.
He said that companies should focus on finding the best way to deal with hybrid work instead of wasting time and energy on things like giving employees private concerts as rewards.

Employees won’t come to work every day just for the perks,” Mr. Bloom said. “What are your plans for the next step?”

Can you get Justin Bieber and Katy Perry?”

Apple employees said that since the office is quieter now, they didn’t know of or expect any parties to celebrate their return to work. Apple is only asking workers to come in once a week at first. Apple will only let them work on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday after the end of May.

Last year, when Apple announced its “return to office” plan, more than 1,000 employees signed a letter asking management to be more open to flexible work arrangements. Before another COVID outbreak put the plan on hold, this was the case. It was a rare sign that regular employees of the company didn’t agree with the company’s executives. Usually, regular employees are less likely to disagree openly with executives about workplace issues.

But as tech companies try to give their employees more freedom at work, they are also cutting back on some office perks.
Meta, which used to be called Facebook, told its employees last month that free services like laundry and dry cleaning would be cut back or stopped. Google, like some other companies, said that it lets thousands of employees work from home or move to a different office if they want to. But if an employee moves to a cheaper place, Google will cut their pay, saying that it has always considered where a person was hired when figuring out pay.

Clio, which is based in Burnaby, British Columbia, and makes software for lawyers, won’t make its employees go back to work. But last week, they had a party at their office.
There was happy music playing. There was an asymmetrical balloon sculpture in bright blue, dark blue, coral, and white that was perfect for selfies. One of Clio’s best-known employees put on a safari outfit so they could give tours of the building. There was a cupcake party at work at 2:00.

The company moved desks outside so that its employees, who are called Clients, could look out at the cherry blossoms while sending emails. Natalie Archibald, the vice president of people at Clio, said that a foosball table was turned into a workstation with chairs on both ends “so you could have a meeting while playing foosball with your laptop on it.

At Clio’s office in Burnaby, 350 people work, but the office is only half full. Desks that are too far apart must be reserved, and employees were given red, yellow, and green lanyards to show with a handshake how comfortable they were with their desks.

Only about 60 people came in on Monday. Ms. Archibald said, “To be able to laugh in real life instead of sending an emoji.” “That makes everyone very happy.


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