Google extends its coronavirus work from home until mid-2021
Google has planned to keep the company’s 200,000 full-time and contract employees working remotely until at least July 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Google is the first to extend remote working into the middle of next year whereas other tech firms have announced long-term plans to keep employees working from home due to restrictions from the coronavirus pandemic. No other company has given such a long-term commitment over its offices being largely shut.
Google spokesman Jason Post confirmed the decision. The ruling is said to apply to all Alphabet companies, which includes Google as well as spin-off firms like its Waymo self-driving car business. The work-from-home option will affect nearly 200,000 full-time and contract employees across the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, and major offices in other parts of the US, UK, India, and Brazil.
As per reports, Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google parent company Alphabet, took the decision last week following a meeting with top company executives.
A Google spokesperson said that Pichai sent an email to employees announcing the plan. The email said, “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. 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.”
However, the company has already reopened 42 offices around the world including smaller offices in countries less affected by the coronavirus pandemic, such as Australia, Thailand, and Greece.
Google employees have been working remotely since March due to the ongoing pandemic. The company earlier had plans to reopen some of its offices for employees by July 6, 2020 things didn’t happen as planned so Google has now extended its joining date till July 2021.
Besides helping protect people from the virus, 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.
The prolonged lockdown of Google’s offices could influence other major employers to take similar precautions and follow the suit, given that the technology industry has been at the forefront of the shift to remote work that has been initiated by the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The tech industry has led the charge on remote work during the coronavirus crisis. Apart from Google, Facebook and Twitter too had asked their employees to work from home. Companies like Twitter said they plan to allow some employees to continue working remotely indefinitely. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said that the employees will never have to return to the office if they don’t want.
Earlier, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had also announced that it would allow many of its employees to work from home permanently. He also predicted that most of its new hires at the headquarters will work from home. Other major tech companies including Amazon and Apple have asked workers to return in January 2021.