So we’re two plus years into the pandemic at this point. Are you still working from home in the most comfortable clothes ever sewn? We figure that of the lot of you who said goodbye to that drab, tiled carpet in 2020, most have probably heard rumblings about returning to the office. And probably a good portion have at least been forced into a hybrid schedule.
Lots of companies would love to see their employees once again milling about all those
glass and steel observation tanks office buildings they pay so much for. And while some are likely just forcing employees to come back, others are offering incentives, such as Google. The tech giant recently partnered with electric scooter manufacturer Unagi to provide a “Ride Scoot” program designed to lure many of Google’s US-based employees back to those brightly-colored code playgrounds they call offices with a fun mode of private transportation. The plan is to offer a full reimbursement of the monthly subscription fee for Unagi’s Model One folding scooter, which retails for $990.
The subscription is normally $49 a month plus a one-time $50 sign-up fee, but this amount will be slightly discounted (and waived) for eligible Google employees. There is one caveat to the system: an employee must use the scooter for a minimum of nine commutes to the office per month, although Google says they’re gonna be a bro about it and use the honor system.
I’d Rather Drive
I’m not sure that a reimbursed ride to work is that much of a perk. It does coincide nicely with rollercoaster gas prices, but I would assume that many residents of the cities where Google is implementing the Ride Scoot program tend use mass transportation to get to to the office. (Although I wouldn’t be surprised if the average cost of mass transit is also rising.) I live in a car-centric town that houses plenty of Google Fiber employees, and am not surprised to see that they left it off the list of eligible locations, most of which are on the west coast. I would call out the temperate climate of the cities on the list, except that it includes NYC. Of course, scooters make sense there for other reasons.
Some other companies are offering the standard stuff you’d expect to see: meal programs, fuel and transportation reimbursement, and childcare stipends. Microsoft welcomed employees back with free food, and the cafeteria was filled to capacity. Not a great look given the ongoing pandemic, but it would be pretty unfair to give people a free lunch and force them to eat it alone at their desks.
If you’re still working from home, do you still love it? Are you secretly tired of it and miss your big desk and walls and going out to lunch, or just going someplace other than home to work? Do you kind of want to go back to the office, just not every day? You’re not alone. Personally, I don’t have an office to go to, but I wouldn’t mind having a place where I could keep my backup Kinesis Advantage, print and copy things quickly, and be free of the distractions of home.
Apple is telling people they have to be in the office specifically on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, which honestly sounds bad for morale. Why not Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday? No one wants to be in the office on Mondays or Fridays, anyway. That way, you gather enough people on site to have pure face-to-face meetings and presentations, but it’s easier for everyone to ease into the week. So what would it take to get you back to the office? Let us know in the comments.