Technology

Google is offering employees free electric scooters to get them back to the office

Google is preparing to take its employees back in the office this weekand as an added bonus, they are offered free electric scooters to ease the transition.

The tech giant is partnering with e-scooter maker Unagi to launch a new program called Ride Scoot, which will see most of Google’s US-based employees pay the full cost of a monthly subscription to Unagi’s stylish model One-Roller refunded. The Model One, which retails for $990, is a lightweight twin-engine scooter with a top speed of 20 mph and a range of 15.5 miles.

David Hyman, Unagi’s founder and CEO, said the idea is to help Google employees get to work — or even just to the nearest bus stop. (Google is known to offer free shuttle bus service to his employees in Silicon Valley.)

“You know the employees are concerned,” Hyman said. “People have really gotten used to working from home. And they’re just trying to do whatever it takes to improve the experience of coming back.” (A Google spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.)

Two years after the pandemic upended work patterns, employers are doubling down on office real estate, bringing it into conflict with a workforce that has become accustomed to working from home. Google has spent billions expanding its footprint over the course of the pandemic, a sign that it’s optimistic employees will eventually return to the workplace. And just in case there is friction, Google has shown its willingness to spend money on perks to lure employees back.

Google landed on free scooters as a possible incentive and found a willing partner in Unagi. In addition to raising over $10 million in venture capital last year, the Oakland-based company also started a subscription as an alternative to ownership. Customers in select cities can get one for $49 per month Unagi’s Model One delivered to your doorstep. There’s also a $50 registration fee, but maintenance and insurance against theft or damage to the scooter are included in the monthly fee.

However, Unagi doesn’t just hand out free scooters to every Google employee. Unagi plans to set up booths at various Google offices to sign up employees for a monthly scooter subscription at a discounted rate of $44.10 per month plus the $50 signup fee – the total amount being fully reimbursed by Google. Scooter subscriptions will also be added to Google’s internal employee portal as a transportation option. And Google and Unagi are hosting demos where employees can try out the Model One in different office locations.

Employees must also use the scooter for at least nine trips per month to receive a full refund on their monthly subscription. (Google plans to use the Honor system and not track employee scooter usage.) In addition to Google’s Mountain View headquarters, other eligible locations include Seattle, Kirkland, Irvine, Sunnyvale, Playa Vista, Austin, and New York City .

Hyman said Unagi has made arrangements with other major employers, including Salesforce, to add electric scooters as a possible employee transportation perk, either as reimbursement or at a discounted rate. He also works with a number of hotels and residences to set up Unagi’s scooters in the lobby for customers.

“We hope other companies follow suit,” Hyman said. “We think it’s a great addition to the office.”

https://www.theverge.com/2022/4/4/23004667/google-unagi-electric-scooter-subscription-return-office Google is offering employees free electric scooters to get them back to the office

Fry Electronics Team

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