Google has come up with a new perk for Silicon Valley’s famously pampered workforce: Free, weekly, at-home COVID-19 testing.
The search giant rolled out the new benefit this week for all of its 90,000 U.S. employees, a spokesman said. The initiative guarantees all of them a weekly, at-home nasal swab and lab analysis—whether they are reporting for duty in-person, or not. The company is recommending that every staffer be tested weekly.
The offer proved so popular that Google’s GOOG, -0.97% GOOGL, -0.82% internal website for it crashed shortly after going live Thursday. Employees at Google’s flagship search properties, as well as company arms including YouTube, Google X, fiber internet and artificial intelligence all have access to the testing. International Google employees will be offered access starting next year.
While other companies, ranging from Tyson Foods Inc. TSN, -0.08% to Delta Air Lines Inc. DAL, -1.05% , have begun testing staff who report onsite, Google’s appears to be the largest yet aimed at employees stuck at home since March. Google staff has been under a work-from-home order since then, recently extended to September 2021.
The polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, tests look for the virus’s genetic material in samples collected by a self-administered nasal swab. Google contracted with health-care firm BioIQ Inc. to send out the kits and find the laboratories where the results can be processed quickly.