Tech Industry

Google will likely allow some US employees to return to offices in April

Attendance will be voluntary until September.

Google employees might begin returning to the company's headquarters in Mountain View, California, next month.
Richard Nieva/CNET

Google will likely welcome some employees back to its offices in the US starting next month, the company said Wednesday, as the company moves forward with its reopening plan while more people get vaccinated for COVID-19. 

Attendance at offices will be voluntary for now, and the facilities will be populated at a limited capacity, a Google spokeswoman said. The plan will be contingent on a few different factors, including downward trends in coronavirus cases and increased vaccine availability. The company won't require workers to be vaccinated in order to return to the office but is strongly encouraging it. 

Google was one of the first big companies to let its massive employee base work from home when the pandemic took hold. After more than a year, companies are increasingly trying to create more steady work environments. Facebook said last week it will bring some employees back to its offices in California in May. 

Google won't require physical attendance until September, when the tech giant moves toward a hybrid work model. In December, Google CEO Sundar Pichai laid out a plan in which people work in the office for at least three days, while working the other days remotely. But he said the new plan may not be available to all workers, like engineers who spend lots of time in data centers. 

Other tech companies have also started to rethink what work at the office could look like after the pandemic. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said last year the social networking giant will allow some employees to work from home permanently. He said about half of Facebook's workforce could work remotely over the next five to 10 years. Twitter made a similar announcement, and CEO Jack Dorsey also extended the policy to his other company, mobile payments firm Square.