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Uber backtracks on return to office rule

Uber Technologies Inc. is reworking its plan for employees’ return to the office. The San Francisco-based ride-hailing company will let staff work from anywhere as much as half the time, a slightly more lenient policy than the prior one.

The new rule, which will go into effect in September, is different from Uber’s original plan of asking employees to come into the office at least three days a week. The original policy drew grumblings from workers. Uber is now one of several tech giants that have recently outlined plans to let people work remotely more of the time.

Uber outlined the changes to staff in an email today. The news was earlier reported by Business Insider.

“Many things that we thought could only work in person are working well virtually,” Dara Khosrowshahi, the chief executive officer, wrote in the email. ”At the same time, we’ve missed the sense of community that comes from seeing each other in real life and those spontaneous connections that can hatch the next great idea.”

The company won’t require employees to hit the 50% target every week. For example, workers will be able to come in every day one week and avoid the office the next. The company also said that it would institute a more flexible policy on office locations and that staff would not be required to work from the same location where they were stationed before the coronavirus pandemic. Uber said compensation may change based on an employee’s location and that the company will share an update on its plan in about a month.

In the tech industry, many workers have come to view remote work as a coveted perk. Several Silicon Valley companies have been bringing workers back to the office only slowly. Facebook Inc. has said it will drastically expand the number of employees who can work remotely even after the pandemic—although their salaries may be adjusted based on their location. And Alphabet Inc.’s Google recently introduced a more permissive return-to-work policy that allows for staff to work from different locations or entirely from home.

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