Google Pushes Back Return to Office to Oct. 18, Requires Vaccinations


Google became the latest company to push back its return-to-office plans, as the highly contagious Delta variant causes COVID-19 cases to spike around the world.

The tech giant announced Wednesday that it would delay requiring its workers to come back to the office, from September to Oct. 18, joining firms like Apple (AAPL), which moved its return date because of the variant.

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“We recognize that Googlers are seeing spikes in their communities caused by the Delta variant and are concerned about returning to the office,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai wrote in a blog post on Wednesday. “This extension will allow us time to ramp back into work while providing flexibility for those who need it.”

As part of Google’s return-to-work plans, Pichai also wrote that any Google employee coming back to the office will be required to get vaccinated.

The news comes after both New York City and state required its municipal workers to get vaccinated or be subjected to regular COVID-19 tests, and President Joe Biden is expected to mandate that federal workers do the same on Thursday.

Private employers have been reluctant to impose strict vaccination requirements among staffers — many relying on the honor system to figure out who got the vaccine — but that has started to change as government guidelines get implemented.

New York City contractors, building trades leaders and union officials met with real estate leaders this week to figure out how to nudge skeptical employees to get vaccinated, but the Durst Organization is taking it one step further. The landlord told its non-union employees that they’ll be fired if they don’t get vaccinated by Labor Day, unless they have a medical or religious excuse, Crain’s New York reported.

And, despite Apple and Google pushing back their return-to-office plans, not everybody thinks it will be widespread.

SL Green Realty Corp. still expects its tenants to return on Labor Day and Gov. Andrew Cuomo pushed private employees in the state to return by then.

Nicholas Rizzi can be reached at