Google is trying to lure employees back to the office by offering a special for its on-campus hotel in Mountain View, California. The special will run through Sept. 30 and is serving as another attempt for Google to establish the new norm of a hybrid work-from-home schedule.
An advertisement recently went out to Google employees to invite them to stay at the 42-acre campus hotel for $99 per night, and the company said it hopes it will “make it easier for Googlers to transition to the hybrid workplace,” CNBC reports. Google seems to be thinking along the same lines as Twitter owner Elon Musk, who repurposed several office workspaces into “hotel bedrooms” so employees wouldn’t have to commute home.
But unlike Musk, who created the free rooms shortly after taking over Twitter with the intention for workers to essentially live at the office, Google CEO Sundar Pichai took it one step further and is actually requiring employees to pay for the rooms with no reimbursement from the company. Employees are required to pay because the promotion falls under unapproved business travel following a companywide policy change that significantly cut back on work-related travel and company events last year.
The advertisement entices workers to make the jump, even for a short while, to its on-campus hotel, saying: “Just imagine no commute to the office in the morning and instead, you could have an extra hour of sleep and less friction,” CNBC reported. “Next, you could walk out of your room and quickly grab a delicious breakfast or get a workout in before work starts.” It adds that after the end of the work day, “you could enjoy a quiet evening on top of the rooftop deck or take in one of the fun local activities.”
Some employees complained in an internal forum viewed by CNBC that they had mixed feelings about Google’s hotel special, with one employee writing, “Now I can give some of my pay back to Google.” Another employee reportedly acknowledged that a month’s stay at the on-campus hotel would run $3,000 a month, less than much of the housing in the surrounding San Francisco area, and one person commented the amenities are better than what they get at their apartment. But who’s going to give up their apartment for a limited-time hotel discount?
“We regularly run accommodation specials for local or traveling Googlers to take advantage of our spaces and amenities,” Google spokesperson Ryan Lamont said in an emailed statement to Gizmodo. “We advertise these in a regular Perks email which also contains discounts for employees on other services and entertainment options.”
Google started requiring employees to return to the office three days a week in March of last year and in June, the company implemented new badge tracking policies to confirm employees were actually reporting to the workplace. The new policy added that in-person attendance would be considered during each employee’s evaluation.