Google staff will work from home until at least July 2021

New ruling intended to give employees more clarity on how long they will be kept from the office

Andrew Griffin
Monday 27 July 2020 15:45 BST
Sir David Attenborough talks working from home after coronavirus

Google staff will work from home until at least July 2021.

The company is the first technology company to publicly commit to keeping its remote working policies in place into 2021, in an attempt to give staff more clarity on how long they would be working from home.

Other tech companies – including Facebook and Twitter – have committed to allow most employees to work remotely indefinitely, even after coronavirus-related shutdowns lift. But no other company of Google's scale has given such a long-term commitment that its offices would stay largely shut.

Google's decision will affect "nearly all" of the roughly 200,000 full-time, contracted Google employees, the WSJ said. Sundar Pichai, Google's chief executive, took the decision after a call with executives last week, the paper claimed.

Mr Pichai then made the announcement in an email sent to employees this morning, a Google spokesperson 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," a statement read.

The company had started opening its offices from early July, it said in a blog post in May. But that was only to allow those staff who wanted or needed to come back, and was done on a "limited, rotating basis", it said.

It said in the same post that from September it would start to increase the number of people coming into the office, though stressed that coming back would be "voluntary through the end of the year, and we encourage you to continue to work from home if you can".

Now it has said that policy will run until July 2021, with only limited numbers of people coming into its offices until then.

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.

Mr Pichai wrote in that same May blog post that the company would be "looking to develop more overall flexibility in how we work", though he did not say explicitly what the company was planning for 2021 and beyond.

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