Google has decided that its 200,000 employees should work from home through June 2021.
The remote-work order issued Monday by Google CEO Sundar Pichai also affects other companies owned by Google’s corporate parent, Alphabet. It marks a six-month extension of Google’s previous plan to keep most of its offices closed through the rest of this year.
“I know this extended timeline may come with mixed emotions and I want to make sure you’re taking care of yourselves,” wrote Pichai, in an email to employees.
The prolonged lockdown of Google’s offices could influence other major employers to take similar precautions.
Even before the World Health Organization declared a pandemic on March 11, Google and many other prominent tech firms had been telling their employees to work from home.
Google had originally planned to allow a significant number of employees to begin returning to its Mountain View, California, headquarters and other offices during the summer. But the pandemic’s ongoing spread prompted Google to push back the reopening until January and now it has prompted yet another delay.
The new July 2021 target date for reopening Google’s offices should make it easier for workers with children to adjust to schools that aren’t allowing students to return to campus next month and in September.
“I hope this will offer the flexibility you need to balance work with taking care of yourselves and your loved ones over the next 12 months,” Pichai wrote.
Pichai’s email noted that Google and Alphabet have been able to reopen some offices in 42 countries, although he didn’t specify which.
The pandemic has also prompted several other tech companies to inform their workers they won’t have to return to work this year.
On the other hand, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has taken the most extreme step so far by telling the messaging service’s employees they will never have to return to the office if they don’t want.