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Google pushes its return to the office date into 2022

The "varied impact" of the Delta variant will keep Googlers at home until January next year

Google has announced a third delay to its plans for employees to return to the office, citing the highly contagious Delta variant that is spreading across the US. 

Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in a blog post on Tuesday that the new date of return was now scheduled for 10 January 2022. 

Pichai said that the company hopes to see employees back in the workplace as soon as possible, but added that due to the varied impact COVID is having around the world - and the uncertainty that creates - it is having to delay its return.

"We hope to see more teams coming together where possible, whether it be for regular team meetings, brainstorming sessions around a whiteboard, or outdoor socials," Pichai said. "For some locations, conditions are starting to improve, yet in many parts of the world the pandemic continues to create uncertainty. Acknowledging that, we’ll extend our global voluntary return-to-office policy through January 10, 2022 to give more Googlers flexibility and choice as they ramp back."

Google has also said that it will allow different countries and locations to decide when to end the voluntary work from home conditions, provided they allow for at least 30-days to give notice. 

The move follows similar announcements from the likes of Amazon, Facebook and Apple which have all had to reassess their plans for a return to the office.

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Google has repeatedly adjusted its COVID-related work policies and still hasn't fully explained its future work strategies. The firm has previously warned that hybrid work would hurt its 'corporate culture' and may even have a financial impact. Despite being a big provider of the technology that enables remote working, the firm itself seems somewhat undecided on the matter

"The COVID pandemic has been a humbling challenge for all of us and I continue to be impressed by the way our teams are navigating through it," Pichai said. "In spite of these challenges, I'm happy to say that a large number of offices globally are already open for business, and we are welcoming back tens of thousands of Googlers on a voluntary basis."

The company is also planning two more global reset days during the final quarter of the year - 22 October and 17 December - to help employees relax and manage stress. 

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