Google has delayed forcing workers back to the office as the Delta variant continues to wreak havoc around the world. The Mountain View-headquartered tech giant is the latest company to have extended its voluntary office return scheme, following in the footsteps of Amazon and Lyft.
It seems as if the Alphabet-owned Googleplex, which is usually buzzing with activity, won’t get back to full capacity anytime soon.
Google has delayed its workers’ mandatory return to the office until 10 January. Mountain View was previously planning to have employees return to work in October, but decided to delay it until January due to coronavirus uncertainties around the world.
However, while still voluntary, CEO Sundar Pichai made it clear in a blog that he was excited about the workers already deciding to return to the office.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has been a humbling challenge for all of us and I continue to be impressed by the way our teams are navigating through it,” he said. “In spite of these challenges, I’m happy to say that a large number of offices globally are already open for business, and we are welcoming back tens of thousands of Googlers on a voluntary basis.”
Pichai repeated throughout the blog that Google is already welcoming employees back to the office on a voluntary basis. This comes after reports revealed remote workers deciding against a return to the office could suffer pay cuts as a result.
The Google CEO said local offices would have some leeway into deciding for themselves about a return to office after the 10 January deadline, given their own individual circumstances. Employees would be given a 30-day heads-up before having to return to physical locations.
Pichai also announced two new ‘reset’ days in the fourth quarter on 22 October and 17 December on which employees can take holiday and recharge.
“The road ahead may be a little longer and bumpier than we hoped, yet I remain optimistic that we will get through it together,” he said. “It’s heartening to see Googlers starting to come back to more offices globally. The ability to reconnect in person has been re-energising for many of us, and will make us even more effective in the weeks and months ahead.”
The news comes as experts around the globe are increasingly arguing that office work will not be the same following the end of the pandemic.
“[Office work] will not be the same after Covid-19,” a recent GlobalData thematic research report stated. “Physical spaces will be transformed, and remote working, supported by technology, will become the norm for millions of employees.”
Some companies are already busy creating new tools for remote workers. Facebook for instance recently announced its virtual reality solution Facebook Workrooms, a hybrid of sorts between Zoom and Apple’s ‘memoji’ figures.
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