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Google's voluntary 'return-to-office' policy extended through January 10 next year

Google campus in Mountain View California

The coronavirus pandemic has dramatically changed the way companies operate, with most businesses sending their employees home under the new norm of hybrid work. For example, Google urged its employees in North America to work from their homes early last year when COVID-19 broke out, an order that got extended multiple times.

Google employees were expected to return to the office in September, but that plan has now been shelved yet again. In an email to employees, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced that the company has extended its voluntary "return-to-office" policy through January 10, 2022. This means its employees can choose to work remotely until that date.

Pichai said the new extension aims to give employees more "flexibility and choice as they ramp back". He noted that while conditions are beginning to ease in some parts of the world, the pandemic "continues to create uncertainty" in some locations. Employees will also be given a 30-day heads-up before they will be asked to return to the office.

When the extension expires, Google plans to allow countries and its various locations to decide on whether to let employees return to the office depending on local conditions. Pichai also said the search giant will give employees worldwide two reset days next quarter: Oct 22 and Dec 17. These dates are meant to allow Googlers some time to "rest and recharge".

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