Google has been one of the highest-profile U.S. companies to say it will require workers to come back into the office, but on Thursday it pushed back its Jan. 10 date for mandatory in-office work.
The decision comes amid growing uncertainty about how the new omicron variant of the coronavirus could change the pandemic, prompting border closures even as officials lack definitive answers on just how dangerous the variant is.
“We have safely opened more than 90% of our U.S. offices, and in recent weeks, nearly 40% of U.S. Googlers came in. While these signals are encouraging, we’re going to wait until the new year to assess when U.S. office locations will be ready to transition out of voluntary work-from-home,” Chris Rackow, Google’s vice president of security, said in an email sent to staff that was obtained by The Washington Post.
Google was one of the first large companies to send workers home at the beginning of the pandemic. Unlike tech companies such as Twitter and Microsoft, which say they will allow remote work indefinitely, the search giant has said the majority of workers will need to return to the office at least part time.