SAN FRANCISCO - Google said it will require employees to return to its U.S. offices on April 4, ending the company’s voluntary work-from-home option. For many employees, it'll be their first time back in the office since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company said it will now switch to a hybrid model, where employees will spend three days in the office and two days working remotely. Google plans to use March as a transition period for employees to get used to their new work routine.
Company leaders tell FOX Television Stations that the hybrid model allows employees to collaborate and connect in the office and have time to work from wherever best suits their needs. The company's product areas and functions have determined which days employees must report to the office.
On-site employees must also be vaccinated unless they have been approved for an exemption. Unvaccinated on-site employees will have to consent to regular testing and wear a mask.
Employees will have an option to spend more days in the office. To allow more flexibility, Google said some employees will be eligible for "work from home" weeks, location transfers or fully-remote work.
Nearly 14,000 Google employees around the world have transferred to a new location or moved to fully remote work during the pandemic, according to the company.
The company has several offices in the U.S. including the Bay Area and New York.
This is the first time Google employees will return to the office since the beginning of the pandemic. The company delayed its return-to-office date multiple times. That latest return was set for Jan. 10 but was delayed due to the COVID-19 omicron surge.
Other tech companies have delayed their return to office plans too. Amazon.com Inc. in October steered away from an official return date after delaying for several months and left the decision of whether staff needed to work from the office up to corporate team directors.
Facebook parent company, Meta Platforms (META), delayed its employees' return to the office from Jan. 31 to March 28 and will require COVID-19 booster shots for those who decide to return to the office and meet eligibility guidelines. If employees want to work remotely after March 28, they will need to request a deferral by mid-March.
Lyft said it won’t require workers to come back to its offices for all of next year, though they will fully reopen as planned in February.
Apple reportedly delayed its return-to-office date indefinitely.
FOX Business and the Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angles.