Google asks employees to work from home if they can to slow COVID-19 spread

Google is asking all of its North American employees to work from home if they can in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

“All offices in North America are now on recommended work from home status, if roles allow,” the company confirmed to CBC News in an email on Wednesday, after the story was first reported by Business Insider. “Our offices remain open to employees whose roles require they come in.”

Google employs almost 120,000 people, most of whom work in North America. It says the point of the policy is to reduce the density of people in offices, which expert advice suggests may slow down the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the burden on the local community and health resources.

Last week, the company promised that hourly workers such as custodial staff and food preparation workers would be fully compensated for the hours they would have worked even if their services were no longer needed because of office shutdowns.

On Tuesday the company extended that policy to ensure paid sick leave to anyone at the company in any role who is not able to work because of the virus.

The company has also cancelled a conference for developers at its California headquarters scheduled for early May. Known as the I/O conference, the conference typically hosts about 5,000 people.

Another Google conference scheduled for next month, known as Cloud Next, will also now be online-only.

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