Google on Tuesday told all of its North American employees to work from home in an effort to combat the coronavirus—one of the most sweeping work from home orders in the U.S. to-date.
• Offices will remain open for employees whose roles require them to come in.
• A Google spokesperson said the goal of the recommendation is to reduce the density of people in offices, which may slow down the spread of the virus and reduce the burden on local health resources.
• Before Tuesday, employees in New York and California could optionally work from home while it was recommended that employees in Seattle work remotely.
• Google said it will establish a Covid-19 fund to pay for sick leave and wages for janitors, cafe workers and other third-party vendors who may have their hours reduced as a result.
“Contributing to social distancing if you are able to, helps the overall community spread and most importantly, will help offset the peak loads through critical healthcare systems and also saves it for people in need,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai tweeted on Tuesday.
As of Tuesday, more than 800 cases have been reported in the U.S. and 28 have died, according to Johns Hopkins, as health officials say the disease is expected to spread.
Key background: Large tech companies with offices in Seattle and the Bay Area, such as Microsoft, Amazon, Apple and Twitter, have already told some employees to work from home. And other white-collar offices, too, around the country are preparing to implement similar measures. But Google’s effort is the most far-reaching telecommute policy thus far.