Bottom line: Google’s decision to keep employees at home for another full year will no doubt impact what other major tech giants do. Will Apple, Microsoft and others follow suit or will they elect to bring employees back within the coming months? What transpires over the next few weeks will no doubt be interesting and have a lasting impact on society as we know it.

Google is playing it safe with regards to bringing employees back into the office amid the Covid-19 pandemic. While some communities are eager to get back to some semblance of normalcy, the search giant has extended its work-from-home policy out a full 12 months.

Up to this point, Google had told employees to prepare for a return in January. But now, employees will be working from home until at least next July.

Sources familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal that Google CEO Sundar Pichai made the call last week and started informing staffers later in the week. In a memo issued on Monday obtained by the publication, Pichai said he hoped the move would offer employees the flexibility to balance work with taking care of their families over the next 12 months.

As summer starts to wind down, kids would normally be gearing up for an imminent return to classrooms in the fall. But with Covid-19 still going strong, it’s anyone’s guess as to what the 2020-2021 school year will look like. Will children be held out of school for months to come? What will online learning look like following the spring semester?

For Google’s roughly 200,000 employees, that won’t be a concern this school year as they’ll be able to manage whatever local government has in store.

Image credit: Benny Marty, JHVEPhoto