Google says it’s ‘likely’ some employees will return to the office in April

Today Google informed employees that it is planning to allow some employees back into offices next month. Axios and the New York Times reported on an email that said “it is likely we’ll begin to welcome Googlers back to some of our U.S. offices on a voluntary basis.” 

The company told The Verge that specifics of reopening will depend on “specific criteria that include increases in vaccine availability and downward trends in COVID-19 cases,” however it is not requiring employees to get vaccinated. Last spring Google was notable among companies that sent employees home, providing an allowance to buy necessary equipment. At one point it considered reopening offices as early as last July, but the spreading pandemic quickly changed that and largely shuttered them ever since.

Google’s return strategy is still timed for September, with obvious hopes that by then widespread vaccinations will make it safe to have more people in the same space. CNBC has more details on what happens after that, with policies detailed in another memo. That report says employees who want to work remotely will have to apply in order to receive a maximum of 14 days per year, with up to 12 months allowed in “the most exceptional circumstances.