Google lets employees work from home for another year

Google is letting some employees continue to work from home for nearly another year.

“To give employees the ability to plan ahead, we are extending our global voluntary work from home option through June 30, 2021 for roles that don’t need to be in the office,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai wrote in an email to employees, the company confirmed Monday.

The announcement underscores the cautious approach of many tech companies toward resuming normal operations as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the U.S.

On March 10, Google recommended its employees in the U.S. and Canada work from home if their roles allowed, making it one of the biggest companies in North America at the time to issue a blanket recommendation.

But the Mountain View, California-based tech company had more recently considered a gradual reopening for many of its offices, laying out plans in May to ramp up to as much as 30 percent capacity in September.

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, had more than 123,000 employees as of March.

Google did not elaborate on the reasons behind the extension into 2021, but the spread of COVID-19 through the U.S. has been grim, with the country surpassing more than 4 million confirmed cases last week. It has also become more challenging for experts to predict the pandemic’s peak.

The company’s decision was driven in part by concern for employees with children who may receive at-home instruction during the upcoming school year, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey told employees in May they could work remotely forever if they wished, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said the pandemic could spur a permanent shift toward working from home, with as much as half the company working remotely by 2030.