Special Feature
Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: Coronavirus: Business and technology in a pandemic

Google delays its return-to-office plans again, this time until January 2022

The tech giant previously expected employees in the US and elsewhere to start returning to the office in October, but it's pushed back the date as COVID-19 cases surge.

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In response to the ongoing pandemic, Google on Tuesday said it is extending its voluntary work-from-home policy through January 10, 2022. 

Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and other companies are all similarly delaying the opening of their offices at least until January 2022. 

After January, Google's offices will determine when to end the remote work option based on local conditions. Employees will get at least 30 days' notice before they are expected to return to their office. 

In an email sent to Google employees on Tuesday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said a large number of offices globally are already open for business. "We are welcoming back tens of thousands of Googlers on a voluntary basis," he said. 

Google first closed its offices in March 2020 and previously said its employees would work remotely until at least September 2021. After announcing it would adopt a "hybrid workforce model" that asked employees to spend at least some time in the office, Google in May said that it expects around 20% of its employees to work from home permanently. Then in July, it extended its remote work policy through October.