Google is delaying its back-to-office date again, this time as a result of the omicron COVID-19 variant.
Like most tech companies, Google has repeatedly delayed its back-to-office date as the pandemic has continued. The company last postponed its date in late August, moving it from mid-October to January 10.
According to CNBC, Chris Rackow, the company’s security VP, sent an email to employees telling them the the company would wait until the new year to make decisions about a return to the office. Rackow says the company will be looking to determine when it can safely return to a “stable, long-term working environment.” As a result, no employees will be required to switch to a hybrid workflow by the January date, as previously planned.
Rackow didn’t specifically mention the omicron variant, but Business Insider had earlier reported that Google cited the variant when postponing its back-to-office date in specific regions that are already seeing the variant spread.
Health officials are concerned by the omicron variant because of the high number mutations it has, leading some experts to believe it may be better at evading immunity — both from previous infections and from vaccines.
If omicron becomes as much of a threat as experts fear, it’s a safe bet Google won’t be the only company pushing back a return to the office.