Google removes masks and vaccination obligation: tests of normality in the office

With the health situation slowly appearing to improve in different parts of the world, some obligations fail that companies have adopted in recent months with the aim of containing the spread of the coronavirus as much as possible. Among the big techs is Google the last to loosen the restrictions, no longer requiring employees to be vaccinated, nor to wear masks at work.

The Mountain View company was among the first to introduce the vaccination obligation, even going so far as to evaluate the blocking of the salary or even the dismissal of those who refused to undergo the administration of the dose. Now that the Omicron variant appears to be loosening its grip, Google sees fit that

  • the Covid-19 vaccine is no longer mandatory in order to work in its offices in the United States
  • the mask should no longer be worn by vaccinated employees
  • tampons are no longer needed
  • social distancing is no longer to be respected within the offices

Evidence of normality, therefore, after Google last December had indefinitely postponed the return to the office: we were in full Omicron emergency, and now that the peak is behind us we can return to planning the future with greater serenity. Starting right from the work in the presence which, as already happens for other realities, will be hybridin the sense that it will provide for smart working alternating with days in the office, as required by the agreements with the managers.

However, additional controls will remain for those who have not undergone the vaccination course: for these it remains the obligation to wear a swab and to wear a mask when they are inside the offices. At the same time, Google will reopen spaces and reactivate services that have been closed for two years: gyms, massage area, breakfast rooms, games and listening to music. In short, all informal spaces will be restored to allow workers who return in presence to alternate their activities with moments of relaxation and sharing.

To say that “everything will be as before” is perhaps not entirely correct, because Google is “designing ways to support new forms of working together“. The intention is to convince the worker that the return to the office is safe, and that all the conditions will exist to guarantee a peaceful stay together with their colleagues. The return in presence, however, is still optional:”those who do not feel it yet can stay at home“they say in Mountain View.

Pending further decisions by Google regarding the mandatory nature of face-to-face work, the company revealed that only in the past week 30% of San Francisco Bay Area employees returned to the office.