Google, owned by Alphabet, has pushed back plans for employees to return to work in early January, citing growing concerns about the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant.
Google’s vice president of global security, Chris Rackow, said in an email to employees on Thursday that they will no longer be required to return to work on January 10th.
But according to the company, it will wait until the new year to assess when U.S. offices can safely resume a stable, long-term working environment.
Google had previously planned to bring in workers three days a week starting January 10th under a hybrid model that combined office and remote employment, thereby terminating its optional work-from-home time.
These plans have been suspended indefinitely, and other major tech firms have altered their return-to-work plans as well.
Microsoft had also postponed plans to bring employees back to its U.S. offices indefinitely in September, while Amazon announced in August that it would delay its employees’ return to the office until at least Jan. 3, 2022.
The announcement comes as firms and governments around the world scurry to respond to the threat of the Omicron variant.
The novel virus has roiled financial markets and prompted concerns about its influence on the global economic recovery after being discovered in South Africa last week.
According to a preliminary report, the Omicron variation appears to be reinfecting humans at three times the rate of prior strains.