Google announced on Tuesday that it will postpone its return to offices for the third time due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic until Jan. 10, according to a blog post from chief executive Sundar Pichai.
CNBC reports that Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and other tech giants have begun reconsidering their plans to fully reopen their offices as the COVID-19 delta variant continues to surge in many parts of the U.S.
''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,'' Pichai wrote. ''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.''
He went on to note that ''conditions around the world are still highly variable,'' and the company wants to see employees ''coming together where possible, whether it be for regular team meetings, brainstorming sessions around a whiteboard, or outdoor socials.''
Pichai added, however, that ''in many parts of the world the pandemic continues to create uncertainty. Acknowledging that, we'll extend our global voluntary return-to-office policy through January 10, 2022 to give more Googlers flexibility and choice as they ramp back.''
After that date, Google ''will enable countries and locations to make determinations on when to end voluntary work-from-home [arrangements] based on local conditions, which vary greatly across our offices'' and ''to make sure everyone has ample time to plan, you'll have a 30-day heads-up before you're expected back in the office.''
Puchai also wrote that ''encouraging Googlers to rest and recharge during this time remains a big priority,'' and the company has two ''global reset days'' planned in October and December.
''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 concluded. ''It's heartening to see Googlers starting to come back to more offices globally. The ability to reconnect in person has been re-energizing for many of us, and will make us even more effective in the weeks and months ahead. Thanks for all the great work thus far; look forward to a busy Q4 as we continue to find new ways to be helpful to people everywhere.''
Google previously delayed its reopening last December and again last July, when it moved its reopening day to Oct. 18.
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