Google is reconsidering its return-to-office plans again, saying that its US employees won’t have to adopt a hybrid work model come January 10th, as was previously indicated. A Google spokesperson told The Verge that the company’s current plan is to hold off on coming up with new plans until next year, with decisions regarding timelines still being left up to local offices.
The company has changed its return to work plans several times as the pandemic evolved. In August, when the delta variant was a growing concern, we learned that the company intended to keep in-office work voluntary until at least January 10th, 2022. That plan itself was a change from a previous one that was revealed in December 2020, which would have had employees returning in September.
According to an email from Google VP Chris Rackow, obtained by CNBC, the company reiterated a promise from August that full-time employees will be given a 30-day period to transition from working remotely to working in the office when the company does start to bring them back in. Google says it’s still intending to go with the hybrid workweek model that CEO Sundar Pichai outlined in May, where “most Googlers” will work three days in the office and two days remote.
The spokesperson also told The Verge that the company has opened 90 percent of its US offices open for employees to come in on a voluntary basis. CNBC says Google is encouraging employees to come in “to reconnect with colleagues in person and start regaining the muscle memory of being in the office more regularly.” Whether this will continue to be possible remains to be seen and will likely be dictated by the US’s response as more cases of the omicron variant of the coronavirus continue to pop up.
Updated December 2nd, 8:17PM ET: Added information from a Google spokesperson.