UPDATED: Most of Google’s workforce probably will not return to the office before the summer of 2021, with the internet giant extending the option to work from home given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The company confirmed to Variety that Google workers will be able to choose to work from home through July 2021.
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.
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.
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.