U.S. tech companies are stepping up office perks, hoping to make employees feel happier about returning.

When Google workers returned to their largely empty workplaces this month, they had been instructed to chill out. Workplace time ought to be “not solely productive but in addition enjoyable.” Discover the place somewhat. Don’t ebook back-to-back conferences.

Additionally, don’t overlook to attend the personal present by Lizzo, one of many hottest pop stars within the nation. If that’s not sufficient, the corporate can also be planning “pop-up occasions” that can function “each Googler’s favourite duo: meals and swag.”

However Google workers in Boulder, Colo., had been nonetheless reminded of what they had been giving up when the corporate gave them mouse pads with the picture of a sad-eyed cat. Beneath the pet was a plea: “You’re not going to RTO, proper?”

R.T.O., for return to workplace, is an abbreviation born of the pandemic. It’s a recognition of how Covid-19 pressured many firms to desert workplace buildings and empty cubicles. The pandemic proved that being within the workplace doesn’t essentially equal higher productiveness, and a few companies continued to thrive with out assembly in individual.

Now, after two years of video conferences and Slack chats, many firms are wanting to get workers again to their desks. The staff, nevertheless, could also be not be so longing for a return to morning commutes, communal loos and daytime outfits that aren’t athletic put on.

So tech firms with cash to burn and workplaces to fill are rolling out the enjoyable wagon, whilst they clarify that in lots of instances returning to the workplace — not less than a number of days every week — is obligatory.

Karen Weise contributed reporting.

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