Google is planning to re-open its offices in cities around the world in July, Sundar Pichai has told employees.
Workers who cannot do their jobs at home, and some who have volunteered, will begin to return on a limited, rotating basis beginning July 6.
It is expecting to have about 10pc of normal building occupancy in summer and by September, it will aim to have around 30pc, he added. The majority of workers are being asked to stay at home for as long as possible.
“We’ll have rigorous health and safety measures in place to ensure social distancing and sanitisation guidelines are followed, so the office will look and feel different than when you left,” Pichai wrote.
“Our goal is to be fair in the way we allocate time in the office, while limiting the number of people who come in, consistent with safety protocols.”
Google, like many technology companies in California, shut its headquarters in March following governmental restrictions to limit the spread of coronavirus.
While those who had already “expressed interest” in returning to the office may be given the opportunity to do so, Pichai encouraged those who were able to stay at home for the rest of the year, offering every employee $1,000 (£800) to spend on necessary equipment and office furniture.
The Alphabet chief said he understood the fears of those early in their careers that traditional working may never return, and who were worried about losing out on the creativity, teamwork and social benefits that come with working in an office.
“Our campuses are designed to enable collaboration and community – in fact, some of our greatest innovations were the result of chance encounters in the office – and it’s clear this is something many of us don’t want to lose,” Pichai said.
“At the same time, we are very familiar with distributed work as we have many offices around the world and open-minded about the lessons we’ll learn through this period.”
Mark Zuckerberg announced last week that half of Facebook’s 45,000 employees will work from home within a decade.
Jack Dorsey told Twitter employees that they would be able to work from home indefinitely.
This sudden shift to remote working has cast doubts on Silicon Valley’s position as a tech hub in the future, as tech workers may seek to move to cities or states with lower rent and costs.
Pichai told those who had asked whether it was acceptable to relocate to another place to be closer to family while working from home that the choice was up to their managers.