Like most companies, Google sent its employees home in the face of the worsening COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year.
The decision affects nearly 200,000 employees worldwide, including full-time and contract workers, making Google the first large USA company to keep its employees working remotely for over a year. And Google recently issued a new remote working order for its employees which extends work from home till June 30, 2021.
Google made the announcement to employees via email on Monday. By comparison, Microsoft still intends to start bringing employees back to the office sometime this fall.
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According to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news, almost all of the 200,000 Google employees and contractors worldwide would see an extension of the option which had been set to end in January 2021. However, in countries such as Australia and Greece, which remain largely unaffected by the pandemic, Google has started partially opening its offices.
That initial memo also stipulated for employees whose "roles allow" to consider staying home-essentially changing what had been a voluntary option to a recommended one for all North American offices.
At Google, Pichai wrote that "We are still learning a lot from our experiences of working from home and will use that knowledge to inform our approach to the future of work at Google".