Google (GOOG) will let employees work from home until at least July 2021, a company spokesperson said on Monday.
The company had previously said most employees would be working remotely through the end of 2020, with some employees being allowed back into the office sooner.But the decision to extend the remote work policy well into next year indicates that one of the world’s largest tech companies is bracing for a long pandemic — and could prompt other businesses to follow suit.
In a memo to employees, , Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company has reopened 42 offices around the world.
Google’s big move
In an email to employees on Monday, Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai wrote, “To give employees the ability to plan ahead, we are extending our global voluntary work from home option through June 30, 2021, for roles that don’t need to be in the office.”
The WFH extension by Google and parent company Alphabet, affecting some 200,000 employees worldwide, was previously reported by the Wall Street Journal. Earlier this year, Google had told employees to expect to work from home through at least the end of 2020.
Pichai decided to keep Google’s offices closed through next summer after deliberations with senior executives at the company, the Journal reported. Google notified a “small number” of employees of the new extended work-from-home policy last week, per the report. Pichai “was swayed in part by sympathy for employees with families to plan for uncertain school years that may involve at-home instruction, depending on geography,” according to the Journal report.
Flashback and WFH’s beginning
The tech industry has led the charge on remote work during the coronavirus crisis, with companies including Twitter and Facebook saying they plan to allow some employees to continue working remotely indefinitely.
Google closed its offices in March as the coronavirus hit the San Francisco Bay Area. The company initially planned to have employees return on July 6, but as the coronavirus surged again in California — though mainly in Southern California rather than the Bay Area, where Google is based — it pushed back its reopening date to at least September. Now it appears employees will continue working from home for another year.
Google previously had begun a phased reopening of offices last month, with plans calling for 10%-15% of staffers allowed to be in any one location.
But the decision to extend the remote work policy well into next year indicates that one of the world’s largest tech companies is bracing for a long pandemic — and could prompt other businesses to follow suit.
Meanwhile other companies
In May, Twitter became one of the first companies to announce that employees will be able to work from home permanently, if they choose to and if their job functions permit.
Meanwhile, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg this spring said many of the social giant’s employees will be allowed to work from home permanently even after the coronavirus crisis ends. He projected that around 50% of the company’s workforce could be remote in the next 5-10 years.
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