(CBS/CNN) — Google will let employees work from home until at least July 2021, a company spokesperson said on Monday.

The company had previously said most employees would be working remotely through the end of 2020, with some employees being allowed back into the office sooner.

But the decision to extend the remote work policy well into next year indicates that one of the world’s largest tech companies is bracing for a long pandemic — and could prompt other businesses to follow suit.

In a memo to employees, a copy of which was obtained by CNN Business, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company has reopened 42 offices around the world.

“To give employees the ability to plan ahead, we’ll be extending our global voluntary work from home option through June 30, 2021 for roles that don’t need to be in the office,” Pichai wrote. “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.”

Google’s Cambridge office in Kendall Square reportedly employees more than 1,500 people.

The tech industry has led the charge on remote work during the coronavirus crisis, with companies including Twitter and Facebook saying they plan to allow some employees to continue working remotely indefinitely.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. CNN’s Brian Fung contributed to this report.)

 

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