Google can read the signs, they know what’s up.

Courtesy of the Wall Street Journal:

Google will keep its employees home until at least next July, making the search-engine giant the first major U.S. corporation to formalize such an extended timetable in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

The move will affect nearly all of the roughly 200,000 full-time and contract employees across Google parent Alphabet Inc., GOOG +0.74% and is sure to pressure other technology giants that have slated staff to return as soon as January.

Alphabet Chief Executive Sundar Pichai made the decision himself last week after debate among Google Leads, an internal group of top executives that he chairs, according to a person familiar with the matter. A small number of Google staffers were notified later in the week, people familiar said.

Mr. Pichai was swayed in part by sympathy for employees with families to plan for uncertain school years that may involve at-home instruction, depending on geography. It also frees staff to sign full-year leases elsewhere if they choose to move.

“I know it hasn’t been easy,” Mr. Pichai wrote in a note to staff Monday, after The Wall Street Journal reported the impending extension. “I hope this will offer the flexibility you need to balance work with taking care of yourselves and your loved ones over the next 12 months.”

The new date plants Google firmly in the cautious camp of companies debating the efficacy and wisdom of remote work as coronavirus cases surge and employers try to balance workers’ safety with efforts to reopen the economy. Some multinational firms are eager to bring employees back and return to normalcy.

Wouldn’t it be great if we all worked for companies like Google?

Though to be honest I am in a fairly sweet situation myself where I am not expected to leave my house to do my job and have an employer who insists that I take every precaution possible to stay safe.

I really feel bad for folks who have to go to work, and even worse for those who simply cannot and are trying to pay the bills solely on the money the government is willing to send them. 

And I think that Google is absolutely right that we are likely seeing a situation that will last until at least the summer of 2021, which is really bad news for the US economy.