Google employees will work from home until at least summer 2021 | Google
Google will keep its employees home until at least next July, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday, marking the largest tech firm to commit to such a timeline in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The chief executive officer of parent company Alphabet Inc, Sundar Pichai, made the decision himself last week after debate among an internal group of top executives that he chairs, according to the report, which cited unnamed insiders.
Google did not immediately respond to 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 probably work from home until the end of this year.
Most tech companies have had employees working remotely since the Covid-19 outbreak escalated in early March, and several have expressed plans to continue such policies indefinitely.
These announcements come as Covid-19 makes open floor plans and shared spaces untenable for the foreseeable future, forcing companies across a variety of industries to reimagine what office work looks like.
It also marks a departure from the intense focus during the tech boom of the last decade on lavish work campuses and in-office perks. Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, stretch over 12 acres and offer features like volleyball courts, gourmet food halls and pools.
For years Google has stirred controversy over its role in gentrification after it began to shuttle employees from San Francisco to the South Bay campus in private buses starting in 2013.
The role commuting and tech headquarters have played in shaping the San Francisco Bay area in recent years appears to be poised to change fundamentally, studies show. A survey of thousands of tech workers published in May found two out of three employees in the Bay Area would consider moving away if given the opportunity to work remotely indefinitely.
A potential exodus of tech workers from the Bay Area will also affect rent prices that have been steadily climbing for years, fueled by the tech boom. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco fell 11.8% year over year in June, following a 9% year-over-year drop in May.