The WSJ said that 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.”

The news means that Google is one of the first major US companies to commit to such a decision. Around 200,000 employees will be affected by the scheme, and is said to apply to the majority of the company’s global employees.

Until this news broke, Googlers had been braced for a January return to the office. Instead, Pichai has opted to extend the working from home offer for another six months. Pichai commented on Monday: “We are still learning a lot from our experiences of working from home and will use that knowledge to inform our approach to the future of work at Google.”