Google Urges NYC Employees to Work Remotely Due to Canadian Wildfire, Despite Return to Office Policy

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Google wants employees of its New York City headquarters to work from home. This was after telling employees that they needed to return to the office.

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But the combination of typical New York City smog and smoke from the Canadian wildfires has a way of changing everything. The skies in the Big Apple are, after all, sort of an orange-ish gray.

Google made the announcement in the memo, citing the poor air-quality conditions.

“We are advising Googlers to work from home if possible, and limit their exposure to outdoor air,” the memo said, via the New York Post.

Google Urges NYC Employees to Work Remotely

That seems like the right thing to do. Then again, the memo was released on the same day that Google announced it would be instituting a strict policy pertaining to onsite attendance. In other words, Google doesn’t want its employees to work remotely — at least, not after the skies clear.

An email from Google chief people officer Fiona Cicconi to employees read that “there’s just no substitute for coming together in person,” according to CNBC.

“Of course, not everyone believes in ‘magical hallway conversations,’ but there’s no question that working together in the same room makes a positive difference,” Cicconi’s email read. “Many of the products we unveiled at I/O and Google Marketing Live last month were conceived, developed and built by teams working side by side.”

It even suggested that those who have been given permission to work remotely may want to reconsider.

“For those who are remote and who live near a Google office, we hope you’ll consider switching to a hybrid work schedule,” the email read, via CNBC. “Our offices are where you’ll be most connected to Google’s community.”

Attendance can be tracked via office badge swipes, Cicconi added.

But for now, Google employees in locations impacted by the wildfires should stay remote. That includes offices in more than just New York City. Those who work for Google in Detroit, Washington DC, Reston, Virginia, Pittsburgh and Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina should stay home too, the memo read. And it goes without saying that it also applies to Google employees in the Canadian cities of Toronto and Waterloo, Ontario.

“Air Quality Health Advisories are still in effect for the New York City metro area, according to the New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation,’ the Poste relayed.

Read More: Google Executive Fired After Female Boss Drunkenly Groped Him at Company Dinner

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