As the debate over when California will reopen and businesses can start to get back up and running amid the coronavirus crisis gains more steam, San Jose-based communications technology company Broadcom appears to be planning to call some employees back to the office starting Monday.
According to a company email, the text of which was obtained by this news organization, Broadcom has told its employees to start returning to work at its offices beginning April 27 on a staggered, split-shift approach. Broadcom has divided its North American workforce into four groups, and intends to have one group working for a week at a time at its company facilities. The groups will rotate, with each group working one week in the office, and then three weeks at home, so as to cut down on the number of employees working together at a given time.
“This will allow us to achieve the best balance of our responsibilities to protect our employees, while also meeting our customers’ and community’s needs,” Broadcom said in its email to its employees. “Capping headcount at (around) 25% may not yield the same level of productivity that a full return by the workforce to the office would, this phased, floor-plan based approach has been done to maximize worker safety while on-site.”
Broadcom said it was bringing employees back to their workplaces because the company was part of the “the essential critical infrastructure workforce.” Broadcom makes semiconductors and software for communications devices such as Apple’s line of iPhones. The company had about 19,000 employees worldwide at the end of 2019.
Neither Broadcom, nor the Santa Clara County Public Health Department immediately returned a request for comment.
On March 16, Santa Clara County, and several other Bay Area counties, enacted shelter-in-place orders that required all but essential businesses in the region to close, and have employees work remotely as part of the effort to slow down the spread of coronavirus. Essential businesses included grocery stores, pharmacies, medical facilities and restaurants the could offer takeout or food delivery services. Gov. Gavin Newsom soon extended the order to all of California, and is now scheduled to remain in effect until May 3.
However, as California reported its deadliest day yet since the coronavirus outbreak began, with 117 fatalities statewide on Wednesday, including 20 deaths in the Bay Area, there is speculation that the shelter-in-place rules may be extended for several more weeks. Newsom has said that he wants California to eventually be able to conduct between 60,000 and 80,000 daily tests for coronavirus as one of the conditions of reopening the state.