Google cites hardware shortage in internal documents

Google CEO Sundar Pichai

Simon Dawson | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Google has worked hard to give its workforce the equipment it needs to work from home, which has slowed the company’s ability to recruit new employees.

Google recently told its employees that the hardware, including computers, laptops and phones, is in short supply and that it has canceled all current laptop upgrades, according to internal documents shared with CNBC. A spokesperson said the supply of equipment for new hires is now back, but acknowledged that the process of integrating new hires has been slower since the company asked everyone to work at home from March.

The equipment complications show another wrinkle that large companies must manage when transitioning their employees to work from home. Executives from Google and its parent company, Alphabet, moved its 300,000 employees into a remote work environment in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, closing offices as the company continued to hire and integrate new employees . Last month, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said in an internal memo that the company has added 4,000 new employees so far this year, but the company has slowed its hiring plans since the start of l ‘year.

Employees said documents describing equipment shortages were available on internal bulletin boards in early May.

“Remote integration is not an evolutionary process and essential equipment is not readily available in many places,” said a document. “We are doing our best to get as many laptops as possible, but it is currently not possible to equip everyone with a laptop.”

“This is due to our major suppliers who are experiencing manufacturing shortages,” said the document.

A Google spokesperson admitted that the process of integrating remote employees was slower than it was in person, but said it is now meeting integration targets for new hires. The spokesman also recalled that hiring had slowed down.

“We are slowing down our recruitment and investment pace, and are not bringing in as many new starters as we had expected at the start of the year. We continue to invest in a number of strategic areas,” said the spokesperson. .

The documents also indicate that the equipment of the TVCs (temporary workers, salespeople and contract workers), who represent around half of its workforce, is even more “limited”. The company prioritizes requests from “Nooglers” – new full-time hires – and those with broken, lost or stolen equipment.

“We are finding that our ability to provide new temporary staff and vendors with essential equipment, such as laptops, and our ability to ship them properly has been significantly reduced,” said the document.

A Google spokesperson said that the information on equipment priority for new hires over TVCs was out of date and no longer accurate, but declined to say when the change took place.

If full-time employees or trainees need equipment but their “Work From Home Kit” delivery is not available, they can cost up to $ 300 (USD) or a local limit for technical equipment pending approval from the official, said a separate forum entry. The company recently clarified its spending policies, telling employees that they could not spend benefits, food or home office furniture, even if they did not have budget for canceled activities like internal meetings and events.

In the documents, Google urged employees to be patient regarding comments on the equipment processes.

“We are trying very hard to help as many Googlers as possible in this uncertain time, and understand that, because we are progressing so quickly, we may have missed some use cases,” he said in a section. . “It is not intentional.”

Google plans to slowly reopen offices starting in June, prioritizing those whose jobs require them to be in the office and those who need special equipment, according to an internal memo sent by Pichai last week. Employees who can work from home could continue to do so for the rest of the year.

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