Life after COVID-19: Silicon Valley reinventing future of work with hybrid model

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ByDavid Louie KGO logo
Friday, January 15, 2021
Work after COVID: Google, WeWork, evaluate hybrid plan
Several Silicon Valley companies, like Google, are leaning toward a hybrid model where employees can work some days remote and others in the office.

SILLICON VALLEY, Calif. (KGO) -- Across Silicon Valley, tech companies are busy re-inventing the future of work. The changing workplace is part of Building A Better Bay Area.

Google's CEO and others discussed the potential for a hybrid model, mixing both office and remote work.

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"For collaboration, innovation, productivity, we can't deny that the workplace is important," said Sandeep Mathrani, WeWork CEO.

But what will the workplace be like when the coronavirus pandemic ends?

WeWork operates collaborative work space for entrepreneurs. Mathrani is convinced the vast majority of remote workers want to go back to the office.

"Twelve percent of the people surveyed want to work from home all the time. The remaining, you know, 88 percent want to come to work two or three days a week," he said.

VIDEO: Bay Area company adopts new contact tracing gadget to track COVID-19 at work

As the virus infection rate keeps rising, more effort is going into contact tracing to alert others if they've been near someone who tests positive.

Working two to three days a week at the office is one of the models Google and parent company Alphabet is considering. It's working on pilot projects.

It's also developing new technology to help other companies as the future of work evolves.

CEO Sundar Pichai appeared on an online event hosted by Reuters.

"It's one of the things I'm very excited by because I think it's going to drive a tremendous improvement in productivity over time globally, will also pull more people into the workforce who aren't able to be part of it today," said Pichai.

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A hybrid model of office and remote work could mean tech companies will be able to cast a wider net for potential employees outside of Silicon Valley.

Arran Stewart is co-founder of the recruiting site

"Having everybody huddled into one particular cluster area to Silicon Valley, which is, you know, has one of the highest cost of living and highest salaries across the United State is now not necessarily necessary," he said.

The changing workplace already has triggered layoffs. The one thing companies have is time to map out their plans, with some suggesting it could take two more years before the impact of the pandemic settles down.

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