Google and its parent company, Alphabet, will keep employees working from home until at least June of 2021 because of concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, the company said in a statement Monday to CBS MoneyWatch.
The technology giant had previously planned to bring workers back to its offices beginning in January. Its new policy makes Alphabet the first major U.S. corporation to definitively extend its work-from-home timeline so far into the future.
"To give employees the ability to plan ahead, we are extending our global voluntary work from home option through June 30, 2021, for roles that don't need to be in the office," Google CEO Sundar Pichai wrote in an email to employees.
The new policy affects almost all of the roughly 200,000 full-time and contract workers who work for Google and Alphabet.
Pichai decided to let employees work from home longer in part to accommodate those who are parents, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news. Many workers with children face the prospect of juggling their jobs with helping their kids attend school from home in the fall and well into the academic year if local schools don't revert to in-person learning.
Other big companies are expected to follow Google's lead. Amazon and Apple, for instance, have said they plan to bring back at least some workers to their offices in January.
said in May that he expects about half of the social network's employees to work remotely within a decade. Another large Silicon Valley player, , is allowing employees to work from home indefinitely.