Google has made it optional for employees to return to office after rethinking its plans to reopen some offices on July 6.
The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news, said almost all of the 200,000 Google employees and contractors worldwide would see an extension of the option which had been set to end in January. "A small number of Google staffers were notified later in the week, people familiar said".More news: Spencer Grammer Speaks Out After Knife Attack Over The Weekend
This new timeline for returning to in-office work - Google had previously said its employees would work from home until the end of 2020 - suggests the company doesn't have confidence in its ability to create a safe working environment mid-pandemic.
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. It also makes Google the first major U.S. company to announce such an extended timetable in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic.More news: Apple starts manufacturing iPhone 11 in India
The move will affect almost 200,000 full-time and contract employees of Google and Alphabet.
In May, Twitter said that it would allow employees who wish to work remotely to do so "forever". It marks a six-month extension of Google's previous plan to keep most of its offices closed through the rest of this year.More news: The Ellen DeGeneres Show under investigation amid claims of toxic workplace culture
CEO Sundar Pichai sent an email to Google staff around 6 a.m. PT Monday noting successes in bringing employees back to the office in many countries where local conditions have improved.