Google has postponed its plans to welcome back its employees to offices by a month. According to a CNBC report, the company now hopes to fully reopen its sprawling campuses in mid-October. 18th October, to be precise. This delay is because of the latest COVID-19 Delta variant outbreaks. It was previously said to be preparing office returns for most of its employees by September this year.
Additionally, Google will require anyone returning to the office to be vaccinated. CEO Sundar Pichai reportedly informed the company’s workforce of more than 130,000 employees of this decision over an email earlier this week.
Google has already started re-opening some of its campuses with proper safety measures. It is also encouraging employees who are voluntarily coming to offices to continue doing so if they feel safe. However, since the Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to spike across the US, the company isn’t mandating office returns for three more months.
“We recognize that many Googlers are seeing spikes in their communities caused by the Delta variant and are concerned about returning to the office,” Pichai wrote. “I hope these steps will give everyone greater peace of mind as offices reopen.”
Google will monitor the situation carefully and inform employees at least 30 days in advance before bringing them back to offices. Pichai sounded quite optimistic in his letter to employees though. “Seeing Googlers together in the offices these past few weeks filled me with optimism, and I’m looking forward to brighter days ahead,” he said.
According to the report, Google will allow employees in “special circumstances” to work from home for few more months. Till the end of this year, the report says. It’s unclear though if the company will adopt a hybrid work model (from office and home alternately) initially after it re-opens offices.
Google is the latest tech giant to postpone office returns
Google isn’t the only company to postpone the date by which its employees would need to return to offices. Apple recently announced that it will not re-open its offices for employees until October over similar COVID concerns. Lyft has pushed back that timeframe to February next year, while Twitter has indefinitely postponed its reopening plans. Many of these companies are mandating vaccination as well, including Facebook and Google, of course.
Several US states will also reportedly require workers to show proof of vaccination. Preside Joe Biden could announce similar measures for federal workers in a speech later today.