When a Google employee inquired about the possibility of adjusting his work schedule to fewer hours on more days, a representative from the human resources department responded by stating that the average Google employee works more than the typical 9-to-5 workday. This seemed to contradict previous claims suggesting that Google employees had relatively light workloads.
The HR representative, part of Google’s “People Operations” team, conveyed in a message seen by CNBC, “Most salaried Googlers already work longer than 8-hour days on the days they’re working. Nobody is 120% FTE [Full Time Employee] for working a normal FT job at Google, so working a compressed 100% schedule isn’t really realistic.”
The communication also clarified that Google allows employees to request schedules that are 60% or 80% of full-time.
The acknowledgment from the HR representative that employees typically put in long hours prompted some workers to share this information with friends and family on internal message boards. During the summer, various publications reported interviews with a Google software engineer earning six figures who claimed to work just one hour per day on coding in the mornings and dedicated the remainder of his shifts to his startup. These reports, especially the one-hour workday anecdotes, gained widespread attention, even among Google employees’ friends and relatives.
One meme circulated by a Google employee on Memegen humorously suggested sharing the HR representative’s response with “snarky relatives” who had referenced the one-hour workday reports, garnering over 100 likes from fellow employees.
In response to inquiries from CNBC, Google spokesperson Courtenay Mencini stated that Google employees can indeed request more flexible schedules, with each request being evaluated based on the roles and teams involved. Mencini clarified that, like any company, there are instances when employees work beyond the standard 40 hours per week to meet deadlines or fulfill other work-related obligations.
The company emphasized its willingness to consider and approve schedules at 60% and 80% of full-time, as well as other variations of part-time work, contingent on individual circumstances and managerial approval. However, Google maintained that compressed work weeks are less flexible and compatible with overall team schedules compared to other options offered by the company.
Google employees have faced public criticism for recruiting tactics involving extensive corporate perks, which were historically used by tech companies to attract talent. However, in 2023, the industry witnessed a shift as economic challenges and changes in labor dynamics prompted some of these companies to scale back certain perks.