When Google employees returned to their largely empty offices this month, they were told to relax. Office time should be “not only productive, but also fun”. Explore the place a bit. Do not book back-to-back meetings.
Don’t forget to attend the private show of Lizzo, one of the most popular pop stars in the country. As if that weren’t enough, the company is also planning “pop-up events” featuring “every Googler’s favorite duo: food and swag.”
But Google employees in Boulder, Colorado, were still reminded of what they gave up when the company gave them mousepads with the image of a cat with sad eyes. Under the pet was a plea: “You’re not going to RTO, are you?”
RTO, for Return to Office, is an abbreviation that stems from the pandemic. It’s an acknowledgment of how Covid-19 forced many businesses to leave office buildings and empty cubicles. The pandemic proved that being in the office doesn’t necessarily equate to increased productivity, and some companies continued to bloom without meeting in person.
Now, after two years of video meetings and Slack chats, many companies are eager to get employees back to their desks. However, the workers might not be thrilled about a return to commuting, communal bathrooms, and daytime outfits that aren’t sportswear.
So tech companies with money to burn and offices to fill are rolling out the fun wagon, even as they make it clear that in many cases returning to the office — at least a few days a week — is mandatory.
karen way reporting contributed.