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Google employees worldwide told they can work from home until at least next July

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Google boss Sundar Pichai. Picture: Getty

Google boss Sundar Pichai. Picture: Getty

Google boss Sundar Pichai. Picture: Getty

Google has told its 200,000 staff around the world - including more than 8,000 in Dublin - they can work from home until next summer as the pandemic keeps its offices partly shut for the next year.

Sundar Pichai, the technology giant's chief executive, said all of its employees would have the option to stay at home until next July. It is the longest time frame for a full office reopening laid out by any company of its size.

Google was one of the first big employers to send staff home in mid-March, meaning some employees will have been working from home for more than 15 months under the company's current reopening plans.

The company, which is Dublin's largest multinational tech employer, had told the majority of its 8,000 workers to work from home for two days in early March after an employee was suspected of having coronavirus. However, later in the month, Google Dublin shut its offices again and staff began to work remotely.

Mr Pichai told staff that Google had reopened offices in 42 countries and hoped to reopen more, but said he wanted employees to know when they would have to return, allowing them the option to relocate to cheaper cities.

"I hope this will offer the flexibility you need to balance work with taking care of yourselves and your loved ones over the next 12 months," he said.

California, where Google has its headquarters, is fighting an uphill battle with coronavirus and has begun to shut down services for a second time, becoming the worst-affected state in the US.

All of Google's US offices remain closed. The firm had previously told staff to return by January.

The prolonged lockdown of Google's offices could influence other major employers to take similar precautions, given that the technology industry has been at the forefront of the shift to remote work that has been triggered by the spread of the coronavirus

Tech companies including Facebook and Twitter said they would let employees work from home indefinitely and that in the long term at least half the workforce would not have to come to an office every day.

Google had originally planned to allow a significant number of employees to begin returning to its Mountain View, California, headquarters and other offices during the summer. But the pandemic's ongoing spread prompted Google to push back the reopening until January and now it has prompted yet another delay.

"I hope this will offer the flexibility you need to balance work with taking care of yourselves and your loved ones over the next 12 months," Pichai wrote.

The decision affects more than 123,000 employees on the payroll of Google and that of its parent, Alphabet, as well as 80,000 contractors that normally work on the companies' campuses. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent