Google has decided its workers can return to the office in July—just not July 2020, reports the Wall Street Journal. The paper was the first to report that Google plans to have its employees continue remote working until July 2021, noting that with the decision Google becomes "the first major US corporation to formalize such an extended timetable" due to COVID-19. CEO Sundar Pichai reportedly made the call last week after speaking with other execs. The need to oversee at-home schooling was one driving factor, as was the flexibility the move would give in terms of allowing employees to sign year-long leases should they want to work elsewhere in the US.
After the Journal broke the news, Pichai sent an email to employees that CNN reports read in part: "To give employees the ability to plan ahead, we'll be extending our global voluntary work from home option through June 30, 2021 for roles that don't need to be in the office. I hope this will offer the flexibility you need to balance work with taking care of yourselves and your loved ones over the next 12 months." It notes his email said 42 offices have been opened globally, with the Journal reporting they are mainly smaller offices in places like Australia and Greece that haven't been hit hard by the virus. The Washington Post reports the remote-working policy applies to employees at Google HQ in Mountain View, Calif., along with other parts of the US, UK, and India. (Read more coronavirus stories.)