Four years after pandemic sent everyone home, California state workers are going back to the office

Gov. Gavin Newsom‘s (D-CA) office is ordering state workers in California to return to the office at least two days a week, after years of allowing remote work since the coronavirus pandemic.

The move to a mandatory number of in-office days for state employees was shared in a memo issued to state Cabinet secretaries on Wednesday. Cabinet secretary Ann Patterson outlined the changes effective June 17 in the memo, shared with the Washington Examiner.

Patterson said that while the governor’s office had not previously mandated a set number of in-office days, “varied approaches have created confusion around expectations and are likely to exacerbate inconsistencies across agencies and departments.”

“We have determined that it is now necessary to direct all agencies and departments within the Administration that provide telework as an option for employees to implement a hybrid telework policy with an expectation of at least two in-person days per week,” Patterson said in the memo, while also acknowledging there would be exceptions on a “case-by-case” basis.

Patterson noted that since remote work flexility began with the pandemic in 2020, nearly half of state employees still reported in-person because their job required it. She also touted the benefits of in-office work, while also saying the state government will continue to evaluate its stance on remote work policies.

“We continue to support telework and believe this transition to a hybrid structure will promote greater collaboration and cohesion across our teams that will enhance our ability to serve all Californians effectively,” the memo said. “We will continue to evaluate this approach in the coming weeks and months, and we may make further adjustments in the future. I look forward to continued dialogue on this.”


The state, which began implementing remote work policies in March 2020, has become the latest entity to require employees to come into an office for at least part of the work week.

Washington, D.C., began restricting the number of days local government employees could work remotely to once a week, earlier this year. The federal government has also rolled back its remote work policies from the pandemic.

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