Google delays office return until January as COVID-19 worries linger

Tech

FILE – This Sept. 24, 2019, file photo shows a sign on a Google building at their campus in Mountain View, Calif. Google was quickly negotiating generous deals with big and small Australian media companies to pay for news as the Parliament considers forcing digital giants into such remuneration agreements, a minister said on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (Reuters) — Alphabet Inc-owned Google is extending its voluntary return-to-office policy through January next year, CEO Sundar Pichai said on Tuesday, citing uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in many parts of the world.

The rapid spread of the highly contagious Delta coronavirus variant is also making companies reconsider their mask mandates and vaccination policies.

“Beyond January 10, we will enable countries and locations to make determinations on when to end voluntary work-from-home based on local conditions,” Pichai said in an email to employees.

In the last few weeks, companies including Amazon.com Inc and Lyft delayed their return-to-office timelines to 2022 for U.S. workers due to the pandemic.

Google had earlier delayed its return-to-office policy from September to October. It was one of the first companies to ask its employees to work from home due to the health crisis.

Before the rise of the delta variant and Google was still planning to return to the office, the company had also reportedly been considering instituting a pay cut for employees who decide to permanently work from home.

Reporting by Eva Mathews in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2021. 

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