- Nico Madrigal-Yankowski , SFGATE
Here's when Apple, Facebook, Google and other Bay Area tech companies will return to their offices
A lot has been written about the tech exodus in California. Cities such as Denver, Austin and even Boise have been labeled new tech capitals. And there is some truth to the matter. But for the most part, it seems it was just employees moving to states with nonexistent income taxes.
Plans to return are on the horizon, however. Just look at the massive tech campus that is planned to replace the legendary Temple of Doom-esque Fry's headquarters in San Jose. Some companies are even moving to San Francisco.
It's no longer folly; tech companies are reopening their Bay Area office doors once again, and some of their employees are eager to return to a normal work setting. Some employees, though, would prefer to continue to work remotely. Here's a list of some of the most notable Bay Area tech companies and their office plans moving forward.
Salesforce In March, Salesforce made news by sharing their vision for a digital-first workplace, meaning employees could work remotely forever. Brent Hyder, president and chief people officer of the company, said, "The 9-to-5 workday is dead." Just a month later, however, the company sort of backtracked. They are currently reopening their billion dollar headquarters in a phased approach while giving employees the option to come into the office or work remotely. Looks like they don't want the money they spent on their new digs to go to waste. On Sept. 10, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff went to Twitter to offer to pay for the moving costs of any employee living in Texas after the state announced a new anti-abortion law. Facebook The social media giant is giving its employees a choice: ask for permission to continue working from home or commit to going into the office at least half the time (no NDA's need to be signed when making this choice, as far as we can tell). CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he plans to spend half of the next year working remotely. The other half of the year he will presumably be spending on his hydrofoil board. But in all seriousness, the company expects to open their offices to half capacity in September and full capacity in October. According to the Facebook careers blog, "guidance for employees is to spend at least half their time in the office." The Google logo at the company's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., July 19, 2016.Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated PressGoogle In a recent internal survey, Google developers said they would like to continue to work remotely because they feel they are just as productive at working from home. But the company wants them to return to the office. Oh wait, that only applies to workers who fall below a certain seniority level. Senior Vice President Urs Holzle, for example, can work from New Zealand for the next year. (A Google spokesperson reached out to clarify that Holzle's request was approved in 2020). We'll see how this plays out between the leadership and the plebes, but beginning in September, the official plan is 60% of employees will work from an office a few days per week, 20% can relocate and work from new offices and the last 20% can continue to work remotely. The return to office date was at one point announced as Oct. 18, but with a rise in delta variant coronavirus cases, that date was pushed back to January 2021.
Apple There seems to be a disconnect between employees and leadership at Apple as well. In June, the company announced it would require workers to return to the office three days a week starting in September. But many staff want a flexible approach. Some employees even quit after the announcement of this company policy. In July, however, Apple delayed employees' return to office. Because of the rise in coronavirus cases around the country, workers do not need to return to the office until October, Apple said. Most recently, however, Apple postponed its return to office, and employees are now expected to go back in January 2021. Twitter headquarters on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021.Blair Heagerty/SFGATETwitter In May, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey told his employees via email that remote work could be done forever. Employees of Twitter, however, seem to be eager to return to the offices. Earlier this month, the San Francisco and New York offices allowed for 50% capacity. It's likely these two cities were the first to open because of the high vaccination rates in each. Twitter is requiring proof of vaccination upon re-entry to a Twitter building. Uber's headquarters in Mission Bay, San Francisco, Nov. 19, 2020.Smith Collection/Gado/Gado via Getty ImagesUber The ride-hailing tech company seems to be another company backtracking on their initial return to office plans. Instead of requiring workers to return to the office, as it announced earlier this year, they now will be enforcing a hybrid model after gathering feedback from employees. Staff can apply for the possibility of working remotely full time or choose from a list of other offices instead of their pre-pandemic location. The offices in San Francisco are operating at 20% capacity. Uber recently updated their return to office policy requiring any corporate employee to be fully vaccinated before their return. However, they are not requiring the gig-economy drivers they employ to be vaccinated, nor do they pay for their health care.
LinkedIn After giving the entire company a full, paid week off in April to recharge their batteries, the company is moving forward with a flexible hybrid model. Back in October 2020, LinkedIn was one of the first tech companies to announce a permanent plan for long-term remote work. It is unclear whether the San Francisco offices are open for employees that do wish to return.
Adobe Based in San Jose, the software company will allow employees to work from home up to 50% of the time. In a company blog post, chief people officer Gloria Chen said, "The future of work at Adobe will be hybrid. Flexibility will be the default." It is unclear what percentage of the San Jose headquarters is open. Yelp On Sept. 9, the company announced it would be moving forward with a hybrid work model and that it wanted to evaluate their "real estate footprint." The new Yelp digs in San Francisco are slated for 350 Mission St. Lyft The ride-hailing company announced it would be allowing corporate employees to return to office in February 2022 and they must be fully vaccinated.
Airbnb Everyone's preferred vacation rental tech company is allowing its employees to work from anywhere, which is good because it would be against their ethos to require otherwise. Having taken a huge loss in earnings while people could not travel during the pandemic, the company was one of many to shed office space by subleasing certain offices. The company formerly had three separate office buildings in San Francisco, but they have downsized and will only use a hybrid model out of their building on Brannan Street. CEO Brian Chesky said he does not expect employees to return to their offices full-time until September of 2022 and "people aren’t going to be expected to come back to the office five days a week, every week."