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Google Scraps Go back to office plans in the midst of the spread of Omicron

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Google has delayed the return to the office mandate for workers in the US again as a concern about the new coronavirus omicron variant sound the alarm all over the world and ask for new restrictions.

In an email to full-time employees sent Thursday, obtained by CNBC, the technology company said it would shelve the planned mandate on January 10 and wait until 2022 to determine when its US workers can safely return to office in the long term. The email to American workers did not mention the omicron variant. However, Google’s leadership in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa explicitly pointed to “the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and the new travel restrictions” as the reason for next month’s return. employees in these countries, according to Insider.

Google had previously announced that employees would be required to return to the office three days a week on January 10 and be fully vaccinated to do so. In recent weeks, Google has opened 90% of its offices in the United States. Nearly 40% of the employees have come in physically to work, the company said.

Although no clear timeline has been set yet, Chris Rackow, Google’s Vice President of Global Security, reiterated in the email that the company will allow specific locations to decide when to bring its employees back to the office. Politics had previously been revealed by CEO Sundar Pichai, who added that the teams would yeast and 30-day “heads-up ┬╗before they are expected to enter.

Locations will be assisted by Google’s local event response team, which will help assess each office’s “risk level”.

Nevertheless, Rackow said that Google encourages employees to enter the office “where conditions allow, to get in touch with colleagues in person and start regaining the muscle memory of being in the office more regularly.”

“We will learn about our work rhythms together in 2022, providing new opportunities and new challenges as we experiment with more flexible ways of working,” Rackow wrote.

A Google spokesperson told CNBC that the delay was in line with the plan previously set by the company, which considered January 10 as the earliest possible return date. At this point, the dates of return to the major technologies office are as uncertain as the end of the pandemic. It remains to be seen if other companies, such as Apple, are set to launch one hybrid labor pilot February 1st, Facebook, and Amazon will also push their plans back.

“We will continue to find out when offices reopen and start the hybrid work week based on local conditions, which are dynamic and vary widely across locations,” said a Google spokesman.

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