Google engineers say they’re just as productive at home as in the office, but the tech giant wants them back on site anyway

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Alphabet Inc.’s Google logo. Ng Han Guan/AP Photo
  • Google engineers reportedly feel just as productive at home as in the office, according to an internal survey.
  • Over 75% of staff also say they want more “collaboration and social connections.”
  • Google is forging ahead with plans to have employees return to the office starting in September.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Google employees say they’re just as productive at home as they were working on site before the coronavirus pandemic, but that’s not slowing down the company’s plans to make them return to the office.

In a recent internal survey, software engineers at the company said they feel just as productive working remotely, with their productivity levels rebounding in May after taking a hit when people began working from home in the spring of 2020.

More than 75% of surveyed employees also want more “collaboration and social connections,” said Google’s vice president of people analytics, Brian Welle, according to Bloomberg. Most employees also said they wanted to be physically near their colleagues when working on new projects, the news outlet reported.

But the findings haven’t put a damper on Google’s plans to bring most employees back to the office.

The company previously said it would have most employees work in the office for three days a week starting in September. Google later modified those plans to say 60% of employees will go to office a few days each week, 20% can relocate and work from new offices, and the remaining 20% can work remotely.

Employees’ frustrations with return-to-office plans escalated recently when Urs Hölzle, Google’s senior vice president for technical infrastructure, announced he’d move to New Zealand to work remotely for a year. Hölzle reportedly opposed remote work for workers who either fell below a certain seniority level or wouldn’t be assigned to an office, according to CNET. Google told Insider at the time that Hölzle supports remote work, adding that he requested and was approved for relocation last year, and his move was simply delayed because of the pandemic.