The world is still dealing with the deadly Covid-19 pandemic, but things are gradually inching towards normalcy. Some offices have reopened and employees have returned to their desks, however, Google is one of the organisations that has pushed back their plans of letting employees return to work. The company has confirmed that all employees will not be coming back to office immediately and only fully vaccinated employees will be allowed to come back to the Google campuses. Google has extended its work-from-home policy till October 18.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai sent an email to all the employees where he has outlined the plans of how they envision their return to office spaces. Pichai explained in his email that vaccination is the reason why Google is feeling comfortable with opening some of their offices up for employees who want to return to work early. “And I have to say it’s been great to see Googlers brainstorming around whiteboards and enjoying meals in cafes again in the many offices that have already re-opened globally,” he added. And the fact that it’s been great to see people back at work, as Pichai pointed out, it’s only going to happen if everyone is vaccinated. He went on to talk about the importance of getting vaccinated and wrote that this was the only way to keep “ourselves and our communities” healthy.
Pichai’s mail was published on a Google blog post and you can read what he’s written below:
I hope you are all taking good care. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve put the wellbeing of our Google community front and center. We’ve done this while also taking care of our customers and partners, launching over 200 new products and features to help people and businesses navigate this difficult time.
In March of 2020, we made the early decision to send employees home to slow down the spread of COVID. Since then, we’ve extended our Carer’s Leave coverage to help employees care for loved ones. We’ve continued to cover the full wages of on campus workers who couldn't perform their jobs because of office closures. And, we’ve made sure that Googlers and our extended workforce have access to vaccines as soon as they are available locally. Additionally, thanks to the generosity of Googlers and support from Google.org, we've helped Gavi to fully vaccinate over 1 million people in low-and middle-income countries globally.
Even as the virus continues to surge in many parts of the world, it’s encouraging to see very high vaccination rates for our Google community in areas where vaccines are widely available. This is a big reason why we felt comfortable opening some of our offices to employees who wanted to return early. And I have to say it’s been great to see Googlers brainstorming around whiteboards and enjoying meals in cafes again in the many offices that have already re-opened globally.
Getting vaccinated is one of the most important ways to keep ourselves and our communities healthy in the months ahead. As we look toward a global return to our offices, I wanted to share two key updates:
- First, anyone coming to work on our campuses will need to be vaccinated. We’re rolling this policy out in the U.S. in the coming weeks and will expand to other regions in the coming months. The implementation will vary according to local conditions and regulations, and will not apply until vaccines are widely available in your area. You’ll get guidance from your local leads about how this will affect you, and we’ll also share more details on an exceptions process for those who cannot be vaccinated for medical or other protected reasons.
- Second, we are extending our global voluntary work-from-home policy through October 18. We are excited that we’ve started to re-open our campuses and encourage Googlers who feel safe coming to sites that have already opened to continue doing so. At the same time, we recognize that many Googlers are seeing spikes in their communities caused by the Delta variant and are concerned about returning to the office. This extension will allow us time to ramp back into work while providing flexibility for those who need it. We’ll continue watching the data carefully and let you know at least 30 days in advance before transitioning into our full return to office plans. For those of you with special circumstances, we will soon be sharing expanded temporary work options that will allow you to apply to work from home through the end of 2021. We’re also extending Expanded Carer’s Leave through the end of the year for parents and caregivers.
I know that many of you continue to deal with very challenging circumstances related to the pandemic. While there is much that remains outside of our control, I’m proud of the way we continue to take care of each other while helping people, businesses and communities through these difficult times.
I hope these steps will give everyone greater peace of mind as offices reopen. Seeing Googlers together in the offices these past few weeks filled me with optimism, and I’m looking forward to brighter days ahead.
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