Google CEO Sundar Pichai says 3 days in the office and 2 at home is a good 'balance' between in-person collaboration and time off from the commute

Google CEO Sundar Pichai says 3 days in the office and 2 at home is a good 'balance' between in-person collaboration and time off from the commute
Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Justin Sullivan via Getty Images
  • Google CEO Sundar Pichai discussed the company's hybrid working plans with The Wall Street Journal.
  • Three days in the office, two days remotely was a good "balance," Pichai said.

Working three days a week in the office and two days remotely gives employees a good "balance" between time at home and time with their colleagues, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google parent Alphabet Inc., said.

Pichai said Google was "roughly planning on a three/two model," with employees given flexibility to work where they want for two days a week. Google first unveiled this "flexible work week" in December 2020.

Three days in the office was important for collaboration and community, Pichai said. Two days remotely gave employees time off from the commute, he said.

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Pichai spoke to The Wall Street Journal's editor-in-chief Matt Murray at the paper's Tech Live Conference on Monday. The conversation was recorded in a podcast.

Pichai was asked whether the three days office, two days remote model would be a permanent change for the company.


"I think so," he said. "Even in places like New York and San Francisco our employees dealt with long commutes and that was a real issue. And so I do think people get a better balance in a three/two model."

Pichai said that the corporation's data shows that it can make the model work.

The company would "probably" invest in real estate to make it easy for teams to get together, he said.

Google recently agreed a $2.1 billion deal to expand it's so-called "Google Hudson Square" complex in New York, and Pichai said that the company was "reimagining" its spaces to make them more collaborative and "fun."

Alphabet has delayed its full office return until January 2022, and Pichai said that beyond then, the company would tell each local office to make their own decisions about returning to work.


Between 20% and 30% of staff had voluntarily returned to the office already, he said - that rose to 50% in New York.

In October, Pichai announced that employees needed to be vaccinated before returning to the office.

He told Murray that the company expected about 20% of its workforce to become fully remote over time, and that the company was giving people more freedom to relocate.

In August, a leaked pay calculator suggested that remote Google staffers could face a pay cut of up to 25%. The company said that it had always calculated pay based on location.