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Google's Myth of Losing Social Capital in Hybrid Work

Google's leaders claim in-person work is critical to preserving employee connection, but forward-thinking companies know hybrid and fully-remote work arrangements don't automatically lead to losing social capital.

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Google recently announced its new post-pandemic hybrid work policy, requiring employees work in the office for at least three days a week. That policy goes against the desires of many rank-and-file Google employees. A survey of over 1,000 Google employees showed that two-thirds feel unhappy with being forced to be in the office three days a week, with many threatening to leave in internal meetings and public letters, and some already quitting to go to other companies with more flexible options.

Yet Google's leadership is defending its requirement of mostly in-office work as necessary to protect the company's social capital, meaning people's connections to and trust in each other. In fact, according to the former head of HR at Google Laszlo Brock, three days a week is just a transition period. Google's leadership intends to enforce full-time in-office work in the next couple of years. Ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt supports this notion, saying that it's "important that these people be at the office" to get the benefit of on-the-job training for junior team members.

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