Google plans to keep 200,000 full-time and contract employees working remotely until at least July 2021, The Wall Street Journal reported. Other tech firms have announced long-term plans to keep employees working from home due to restrictions from the coronavirus pandemic, but Google would be the first to extend remote working into the middle of next year.
According to the WSJ, Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google parent company Alphabet, made the call last week following a meeting with top company executives. A Google spokesperson told The Verge that Pichai sent an email to employees this morning announcing the plan: “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.”
Google had previously announced plans to reopen some offices for a limited number of employees starting on July 6th, but it made the return to physical offices optional. Pichai made the decision to establish a more specific time frame for remote working in part to give Google employees with families more certainty about how long they would be working from home, as many are struggling with inconsistent direction from school districts, the WSJ reported.
UPDATE July 27th 1:15PM ET: Added information about Sundar Pichai email to employees.