Google is extending its voluntary return to office policy until January next year. In an email to employees, CEO Sundar Pichai said Googlers can now work from home through at least January 10th, 2022. The company is making this extension because of the rapidly spreading Delta variant of the coronavirus, which has hindered the office return plans of many companies.
“For some locations, conditions are starting to improve, yet in many parts of the world the pandemic continues to create uncertainty,” Pichai said. This extension will “give more Googlers flexibility and choice as they ramp back.”
Google initially planned to resume work from offices in September this year. But new waves of the coronavirus have several affected those plans. In July, the company delayed office return until October. With no signs of an imminent improvement in conditions, the internet giant has now pushed back all the way to January next year.
After January 10th, 2022, Google will let regional offices and locations determine whether they should call employees back to the offices. This will help the company implement necessary measures based on local conditions. Mr. Pichai notes that Google will notify employees at least 30 days in advance before they will have to return to the offices.
Additionally, Pichai has also announced two global “rest days” for Googlers in the next quarter: October 22 and December 17. “Encouraging Googlers to rest and recharge during this time remains a big priority,” the Google CEO writes. He acknowledges that the uncertainty of the situation but says he’s “optimistic that we will get through it together.”
Google will mandate vaccination for employees who are returning to the office
Google already lets employees voluntarily come to offices if they feel safe coming. Pichai says seeing Googlers in offices is “heartening” and “re-energizing”. But the company will not mandate this policy until it’s safe for everyone.
Moreover, when Google welcomes its employees back to the offices, it will require everyone coming to be vaccinated. Perhaps Google isn’t the only company mandating vaccination for workers. Facebook has announced similar measures and so has Netflix. The latter is requiring vaccination for all actors as well as crew members working in “Zone A.”
You can expect many more companies, big and small, to announce similar measures in the future. After all, work in offices has to resume at some point. And mandatory vaccination seems to be the best way to contain the spread of the coronavirus.