Google doesn't plan on a return to offices before June 1

Google I/O Keynote
Google I/O Keynote (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google is planning a slow, gradual return to office life
  • Site-specific guidance will be deployed, and teams will continue to monitor local health alerts and guidance even after a return has begun.
  • It won't make any movements before June 1, citing stay-at-home orders and local equivalents.

Alphabet was one of the first companies to shut down its offices and institute a work from home policy, now the company is working on getting workers back into their offices in a safe and timely manner.

CEO Sundar Pichai this week told employees that while such an effort would be incremental and gradual, there would be no returning to the office before June 1 at the earliest. This probably a result of many state restrictions probably not easing up through the month of May.

In an email seen by CNBC, Pichai said:

I know that many of you have questions about what a return to the office might looks like, and when. The six counties around Google's headquarters in California have just announced an extension to the stay-at-home order through the end of May, while many other localities around the world are issuing their own guidance.[...]I know that the prospect of returning to the office will produce different emotions for everyone. Some of us will be eager to return to our familiar workspaces and see colleagues. For others, leaving loved ones and the shelter of our homes may cause anxiety.

Like with lockdown and stay-at-home orders, a return back to the office would have to be guided in a manner that doesn't endanger employees and cause the effort to be wasted. Pichai noted that Alphabet's approach would be "gradual", adding that there was "no one-size-fits-all" approach. A return to the workplace will be decided on a site-by-site and case-by-case basis.

The CEO thanked those who had stayed behind to work on critical services and keep the company's infrastructure running, much of it needed to help people successfully work from home. "I am grateful for everything our global teams are doing to deliver on our mission under these difficult circumstances," Pichai said.

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Michael Allison