Google will extend homeworking until at least July 2021, offering employees the flexibility to maintain a balance between their work and family life in the face of coronavirus pandemic.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Alphabet's CEO Sundar Pichai took the decision after an internal discussion with other senior executives last week.
"To give employees the ability to plan ahead, we'll be extending our global voluntary work from home option through June 30, 2021 for roles that don't need to be in the office," Pichai wrote in a memo to employees.
"I hope this will offer the flexibility you need to balance work with taking care of yourselves and your loved ones over the next 12 months."
Pichai said he empathised with the dilemma that working families currently face, especially those with young children that may need help with home-schooling.
The move will affect nearly 200,000 full-time and contract employees of Google and Alphabet. It also makes Google the first major US company to announce such an extended timetable in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic.
The company had previously said that most employees would be working remotely until the end of 2020, while some staff could be asked to start working in Google's offices before then.
Google was quick to close its offices in the US and other parts of the world earlier this year when the virus struck. Initially, the company directed its employees to work from home until April, before extending it to July and then until the end of 2020.
In May, Twitter said that it would allow employees who wish to work remotely to do so "forever". Facebook has also said that it expects at least half of its staff to work from home for the next five to 10 years.
Such announcements mark a departure from tech firms' intense focus on creating lavish work campuses for their employees. For example, Google's headquarters in Mountain View stretch over 12 acres of area and offers features like pools, volleyball courts and gourmet food halls.
This could also markedly change the job-search landscape. For companies, it may no longer matter where a job applicant lives, and they can select the best candidate - regardless of whether they reside in close proximity to the office or in another country.
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