Google is leading the way on a new initiative that could facilitate working from home -- and cost companies both big and small dearly.
In a note to employees on May 26, Google chief Sundar Pichai said the company will give employees up to $1,000 in reimbursements for the tech equipment or office furniture they buy to work from home.
Google's move comes as the company determines how to slowly and safely bring employees back into its offices. Pichai said that he anticipates Google offices operating at 10 percent of their normal capacity by July 6 and growing to 30 percent capacity by September.
Google's decision to fork over $1,000 could be a sign of things to come at other companies that are staring down the possibility of their employees working from home for the next several months, if not permanently. While some employees may welcome the opportunity, many will need the equipment, including proper networking gear, computers, desk furniture, and more, to perform at their jobs.
Furthermore, the $1,000 reimbursement (or something similar) could prove to be an attractive recruitment tool as companies look to staff up with remote workers.
That said, actually policing what kind of technology employees use may become a major concern for companies. With sensitive data always in hackers' cross hairs, companies may want to ensure employees use the right software, the most secure networking gear, and capably protect their computers.
Trying to manage that, alone, will come at a significant cost. But with reimbursement programs in place, small businesses, especially, could force employees to only buy the gear they approve, reducing policing and improving security. Better yet, some companies could even opt to buy the gear for the employees, so they know for sure employees are using authorized -- and safe -- technology.
Whatever the case, Google, like other companies, is thinking about how to proper facilitate long-term at-home work. And technology will play an integral role in that. If other companies want to follow suit, they may need to ante up to ensure employees keep things safe.