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Will a Free e-Scooter Convince You to Get Back in the Office? Google Hopes So

Without a doubt, 2020 has considerably impacted workplace culture, if not altogether changed it for good. But Google hopes certain office perks will convince employees to return to the office, including the promise of a stress-free, fast and environmentally-friendly commute. Of sorts.
Google will offer Unagi e-scooter subscription to employees to get back to the office 7 photos
Google will offer Unagi e-scooter subscription to employees to get back to the officeGoogle will offer Unagi e-scooter subscription to employees to get back to the officeGoogle will offer Unagi e-scooter subscription to employees to get back to the officeGoogle will offer Unagi e-scooter subscription to employees to get back to the officeGoogle will offer Unagi e-scooter subscription to employees to get back to the officeGoogle will offer Unagi e-scooter subscription to employees to get back to the office
Regardless of the benefits of working from home, there are aspects of the office environment that could never be replicated in one’s household. The sense of camaraderie and everything that it entails, the socializing, and even the free coffee and snacks could all be listed among office perks. Google hopes to add another one to the list: free e-scooters for certain U.S. employees.

This week, Google brought its employees back into the office and, in order to make the transition easier, is throwing in the promise of a free daily commute. It’s green, too, because we’re talking about an electric scooter of the premium kind: a Unagi Model One. The Verge reports that Google and Unagi have partnered for a new program known as “Ride Scoot,” which aims to make the prospect of heading back to the office a tad more enticing.

Unagi sells e-scooters but, because they’re premium products usually priced above $1,000, it also offers them on a subscription model described as an alternative to ownership. Customers pay $50 upfront as a one-time fee, and then a monthly subscription: $49 a month on a monthly basis, or $39 a month on an under a year-long contract. This amount covers everything from insurance to maintenance, so it’s like ownership without having to pay a lot of money at once, and – why yes – the actual ownership.

According to the report, Google will offer free Unagi subscriptions, through reimbursement, to employees in Mountain View, California, Seattle, Kirkland, Irvine, Sunnyvale, Playa Vista, Austin, and New York City. The only condition is that the e-scooter be used for at least nine commutes per month, but Google has no plans to monitor actual usage, relying instead on the honor system.

The Model One sells for $990 and is a lightweight, foldable and easy transportable e-scooter offered in both single- and dual-motor configurations. It maxes out at 20 mph (32 kph) and is good for 15.5 miles (25 km) on a single charge, so it should prove a suitable solution for the daily commute or, at the very least, a good first- and last-mile solution. Whether that will also turn it into a strong incentive for getting back to the office remains to be seen, but Google is hopeful – at least according to Unagi.

“They know there’s apprehension amongst employees,” Unagi founder and CEO David Hyman tells The Verge. “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.”

Hyman also believes (hopes?) that more companies will take Google’s example and turn e-scooters into the new hot office perk.

Editor's note: Photos in the gallery show the Unagi Model One E500.

 
 
 
 
 

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