Google offers employees on-campus facilities, promises easy hybrid work, less travel and delicious food

Technology

Google’s “Summer Special” Program Offers On-Campus Hotel Stays at $99, but Employees Express Concerns Over Cost

Google’s persistent efforts to entice employees back to its San Francisco headquarters remain ongoing. Earlier, the company had introduced mandatory in-office attendance for specific days and even suggested that working from the office could impact performance bonuses. According to a recent CNBC report, the tech giant is now rolling out a “Summer Special” program that offers employees a discounted rate to stay at an on-campus hotel, priced around $99 (roughly Rs 8,200). This initiative aims to facilitate hybrid work setups, reduce travel time, and provide access to culinary delights. Citing a Google spokesperson, the report notes that the company frequently launches special offers for employees to fully appreciate their workspace and amenities. However, employees remain skeptical due to the relatively high cost.

According to information obtained by CNBC, Google’s Summer Special program is scheduled to run until September 30, designed to help “Googlers transition to the hybrid workplace.” The expense of the stay cannot be reimbursed since it falls under unapproved business travel. Given the well-equipped and opulently designed Google-owned hotel within the new Bay Campus, the company envisions that employees located elsewhere due to the COVID-19 pandemic could easily secure temporary lodging until they arrange for a more permanent workspace.

The report underscores that the San Francisco Bay area grapples with “some of the highest real estate costs” partially attributed to restricted housing supply stemming from zoning regulations dating back decades and substantial demand.

Quoting internal materials, the report elaborates, “Just imagine no commute to the office in the morning and instead, you could have an extra hour of sleep and less friction… Next, you could walk out of your room and quickly grab a delicious breakfast or get a workout in before work starts.” The document goes on to highlight the possibility of enjoying a “peaceful evening atop the rooftop deck” after the workday concludes. Despite these offerings, it seems that Google employees remain unconvinced. The report cites discussions on internal forums, where one chat emphasizes that $99 per night would translate to roughly $3,000 (Rs 2.48) per month, which could cover rent for a new place along with amenities. Another employee reportedly expressed that a rate around $60 per night might serve as a “reasonable-ish alternative to apartments.”

The report quotes yet another worker saying, “I would’ve totally done it, had it fit a certain profile: $3k rent all-in, fully-furnished, unlimited meals, paid utilities, plus housekeeping/cleaning every day.”

In response to the real-estate boom, Google adopted a hybrid work approach last year, requiring employees to work from the office three days a week. However, due to soaring real-estate prices, many employees are hesitant to relocate to cities, including the San Francisco Bay Area.

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