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Google explores “hybrid-office” as the future of WFH
by Paul Davenport Paul Davenport on

Google is among the largest and earliest enterprise advocates for remote work, having published a Distributed Work Playbook almost a year before the pandemic kept most of the U.S. workforce out of the office. Despite predicting a more decentralized future, however, even Google didn’t anticipate just how quickly the past year’s events would force the enterprise community to adopt a remote-first posture.

Now that Google employees have gotten a half-year’s worth of work-from-home (WFH) under their belts, the company recently polled workers to understand their attitudes toward maintaining what Google calls a “hybrid” home-WFH schedule going forward.

The results? While 62 percent of workers would like to return to the office at some point, they’d also like to see an end to the 9-to-5, five-day workweek as we used to know it.

Rather than enforce overly prescriptive working hours, Alphabet, Google’s parent company, CEO Sundar Pichai told Time magazine that he sees the “future as being more flexible” in response to the survey.

“We firmly believe that in-person, being together, having a sense of community is super important when you have to solve hard problems and create something new so we don’t see that changing,” Pichai said. “But we do think we need to create more flexibility and more hybrid models.”

The biggest takeaway from the survey may be that attitudes toward WFH are beginning to sway closer toward negative the longer folks are forced to merge their home and work lives. Sharing residential WiFi with a household of users is causing many more headaches these days as students begin returning to school online, for instance, while many individuals just miss the famously admired office culture.

The total number of Google employees who never want to return to the office dropped from 20 percent in May to only 10 percent in the latest survey, while 15 percent of those polled would only return on an ad-hoc basis.

This aligns closely with similar reports published recently that took a critical look at the future (and definition) of remote working, as many experts believe businesses may require more remote offices in the future with a smaller emphasis on HQ rather than a mass switch to all-WFH. If anything, many businesses are going to need support for an even greater number of remote office locations to keep their teams connected, calling for scalable and agile business solutions that can keep pace with these accelerated transformations.

With workers forecast to be all over the map in the future, accessing enterprise resources from virtually any location, there are going to be a lot more stakeholders involved in delivering network traffic to users. From residential ISPs to the different providers contracted to support remote offices, IT teams will need to be able to zero in on network experience from any location at any time going forward to effectively ensure performance.

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Filed Under: industry insights

Tags: network management, network performance monitoring, hybrid work, hybrid office, distributed work, headquarters, remote working, branch location, branch office, remote office, remote workforce, remote work, wfh, work from home, Google

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