Alphabet Inc’s Google will keep its employees home until at least next July due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing people familiar with the matter.
Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai made the decision himself last week after debate among an internal group of top executives that he chairs, according to the report.
Google did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
Google had earlier said it would begin reopening more offices globally as early as June this year, but most Google employees would likely work from home until the end of this year.
Tech giant Google will have its 200,000 employees working from home until at least the summer of 2021
Earlier this year, several tech giants announced that they would allow most or all of its employees to continue working from home at least through the end of 2020.
In May, Jack Dorsey, the CEO of both Twitter and Square, told employees at both firms that they can continue working from home permanently if they chose to do so.
But some jobs that require the physical presence of employees at the office will still require those workers to show up.
‘We’ve been very thoughtful in how we’ve approached this from the time we were one of the first companies to move to a work-from-home model,’ a Twitter spokesperson said at the time.
‘We’ll continue to be, and we’ll continue to put the safety of our people and communities first.’
Twitter and other tech firms like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple began to encourage employees to work from home beginning in March, when the coronavirus began to spread significantly in the United States.
Shortly after Twitter’s announcement, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also gave his employees the option of working from home – but with a catch.
Zuckerberg said that his company would reduce the salaries of Facebook employees who moved out of the San Francisco Bay Area and relocated to other areas where the cost of living is significantly lower.
The company, one of Silicon Valley’s biggest employers, is giving US staffers who are approved to work remotely until January 1, 2021 to update the company on where they plan to base themselves, at which point their salaries will be adjusted to reflect the local cost of living.
‘That means if you live in a location where the cost of living is dramatically lower, or the cost of labor is lower, then salaries do tend to be somewhat lower in those places,’ Zuckerberg said in May.
‘We’ll adjust salary to your location at that point. There’ll be severe ramifications for people who are not honest about this,’ he added.
As of 2018, the median staff salary at the giant tech company was more than $240,000 annually.
Zuckerberg has taken a base salary of just $1 for the last three years, but received $22million in compensation by way of security in 2018. Nearly $3million went towards private jets.
Menlo Park, the California city where Facebook is headquartered, has a median home price of $2.4million.
Zuckerberg said he expects half of Facebook’s workforce of 48,000 employees to take him up on the offer over the next five to 10 years.
Employees who attempt to wiggle around those compensation adjustments will be subject to ‘severe ramifications,’ he said, as the company needs to account for employee locations to avoid violating tax laws.
Similarly, Spotify followed Twitter and Facebook’s lead to allow staffers to work from home until the end of the year.
Amazon initially told employees who can work from home that they will be allowed to continue to do so until at least October 2.
Last week, the Seattle-based online retailer adjusted its policy to allow most of its office-based employees to continue working from home until at least January 8, 2021.
‘We continue to prioritize the health of our employees and follow local government guidance,’ Amazon said in a statement.
‘Employees who work in a role that can effectively be done from home are welcome to do so until January 8th.
‘We have invested significant funds and resources to keep those who choose to come to the office safe through physical distancing, deep cleaning, temperature checks, and by providing face coverings and hand sanitizer.’
A survey taken earlier this year found that 66 per cent of employees at tech hubs like Facebook, Twitter and Uber would move away from major cities if working from home becomes permanent.
This past spring, Google told employees who can work from home that they will continue to do so until at least January 1.
Both Google and Facebook plan to limit office capacity to less than 30 per cent in the months after they reopen their offices.