Google Doles Out Free Scooters to Lure Workers Back to the Office


Google is partnering with e-scooter manufacturer Unagi to introduce “Ride Scoot,” a new initiative through which many of Google’s U.S.-based employees will get compensated for the total cost of a monthly subscription to Unagi’s Model One scooter.

Tech giant Google last month announced that it is scrapping the work-from-home model for its Bay Area offices and numerous other sites. The company announced free scooters for employees to make the transition smoother as they resume work on-site from today.

The search engine giant has collaborated with electric scooter manufacturer Unagi to reimburse Google workers for the entire cost of a monthly membership to Unagi’s Model One scooter. The initiative is being led under the scheme “Ride Scoot.” The Model One scooter, priced at $990, is an ultralight dual-motor EV that goes maximum to 20 mph and covers a range of 15.5 miles.

The goal is to make it as easy as possible for employees in Seattle, Irvine, Kirkland, Playa Vista, Sunnyvale, Austin, and New York City to go to work.

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Unagi founder and CEO David Hyman told The Verge that Google is providing free electric scooters to its employees as a mode of transportation to travel to work or the bus stop (Google is known for rendering shuttle services to its employees).

“They know there’s apprehension amongst employees,” Hyman said. “People got really accustomed to working from home. And they’re just trying to do everything they can to improve the experience of coming back.”

Even though employees are getting free scooters, there’s a catch. Unagi will not be handing out free scooters to every Google employee. Unagi sought to create kiosks at several Google locations to get workers to sign up for a monthly scooter subscription at a reduced rate of $44.10 per month, plus a $50 registration fee, which Google will entirely reimburse. Scooter memberships will also be offered via Google’s internal employee portal as a mode of commuting. Employees will be able to test out the Model One at various Google and Unagi facilities during demo days.

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Google invites employees to use the electric scooter for nine journeys every month to get the most out of the service. The tech company also promises that it will not track the scooter usage of employees.

Whether employees are ready to make a comeback to the office is still up for debate.

A studyOpens a new window by Conference Board revealed that one out of every five workers is hesitant to return to work, with 20% being extremely reluctant. Individual contributors are more apprehensive (30%) about returning to work than CEOs (7%). Another Conference Board report released last month noted: Traveling to the workplace is still one of the top worries of employers when it comes to returning to work. About 31% of hybrid employees across firms are concerned about the increasing time and expense of commuting.

It’s still unclear if Google will successfully persuade its staff to return to work three days a week. However, IT employees worldwide aren’t ready to abandon the work-from-home concept yet. In addition, Google’s policy is at odds with a new report from Gartner, which suggests companies espouse a human-centric approach amid the ongoing Great Resignation situation to retain the workforce.

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