Google has announced that its employees will continue to work from home until July 2021. The tech giant is the first major company to extend remote work provisions for its employees well into the next summer. The decision comes as the coronavirus continues to hit the United States hard with spikes in new infections confirmed in many states across the country.
In an email sent to employees by the CEO Sundar Pichai, the company announced that remote work for jobs that don’t require availability in the office will be extended till June 30, 2021.
The Wall Street Journal did however note that it’s very likely that the decision will affect all the 200,000 employees working for the company. It will also affect global contractors in major Google headquarters in countries like the UK, Brazil, India, and others.
Nonetheless, Google has reopened some offices. Recent reports indicate though that the company is doing this in countries that have been far less affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to reports, the extension came after comprehensive meetings between the CEO and company executives. People familiar with the discussions noted that several factors were considered, including the changing school year calendar that has seen many kids stay home as a result of the pandemic.
The tech giant also felt that the next 12 months give employees enough time to make the necessary arrangements to deal with the disruptions caused by the coronavirus even as they get ready to resume work. Google was also the first major company to send its staff home in early March after cases of coronavirus started to appear in the United States.
The tech company also noted that it will give workers with special needs, such as those who have older people under their care, more time to return to work once its main offices are fully operational. But for now, it seems the company has decided to go for a blanket extension that affects all its employees. Despite this, the decision isn’t surprising at all. The US is now the hardest-hit country on Earth as far as coronavirus goes.
The country has lost over 150,000 people to the disease while another 4.5 million have been infected. Although it looked for a while like the US had managed to contain the virus, in recent months reported new infections have spiked in places like Florida, Texas, and California. As a result, what was supposed to be a gradual reopening of US public life has turned into a seemingly second wave of infections.
Most states are now putting a pause on reopening plans and are issuing warnings that the pandemic is far from over. With all these risks, it’s not a surprise that Google decided to extend remote work options for its employees.
It’s very likely that more and more people will continue to work from home in the coming few months, especially now that it seems the coronavirus may be here longer than we expected.