Google workers in the US will no longer be required to return to in-office work on January 10th. According to CNBC, company security VP Chris Rackow told employees in an email that Google will wait to reassess the situation and figure out when it’s safe to return to an in-office environment until the new year. The tech giant originally planned to implement a hybrid work week starting on October 18th before pushing it back to January next year. Now, it may all depend on each of its offices.
Rackow didn’t explain the company’s reasoning in his email, and he didn’t mention the newly discovered Omicron COVID-19 variant, as well. There’s a lot of uncertainty around Omicron, and experts are still looking into whether it’s more transmissible than previous variants and if it’s more resistant to current vaccines. What he reportedly said, however, is that Google will allow specific offices to decide when it’s safe to go back into the office. The company will form Local Incident Response Teams to help them assess risk levels, but bottom line is that Google employees may not be required to adhere to a hybrid workplace schedule all at the same time.
Despite canceling its January 10th target date, Google is still encouraging employees to work in the office “where conditions allow, to reconnect with colleagues in person and start regaining the muscle memory of being in [one] more regularly.” Google has already reopened 90 percent of its offices in the US, and 40 percent of its employees in the country already came in. As for its international locations, the company also delayed workers’ return to face-to-face work in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.