WORLD / AMERICAS
Silicon Valley firms in no hurry to open up offices despite easing of virus ban
Published: Mar 24, 2021 09:03 PM
Several of San Francisco Bay Area's largest technology companies including Twitter Inc and Google plan to keep their offices largely closed for months more despite the government allowing them on Tuesday to be opened in a limited capacity.

The building at 1200 Folsom St. in San Francsico on March 23, 2021, hosting the headquarters of the start-up BetterUP closed during the pandemic as staff work remotely. Photo: VCG

The building at 1200 Folsom St. in San Francsico on March 23, 2021, hosting the headquarters of the start-up BetterUP closed during the pandemic as staff work remotely. Photo: VCG





Taking into account declining coronavirus infections, San Francisco and Santa Clara counties eased guidelines that had kept most office buildings closed for 2020 except to crucial security and support staff.

Starting Wednesday, companies are allowed to open up their offices for up to a quarter of their capacity.

"San Francisco is going to come alive," Mayor London Breed told reporters. "When we start to reopen, more and more people are going to want to return to work and want to be around other folks." But Silicon Valley companies that committed in 2020 to allowing workers to stay home until summer 2021 or indefinitely said that they stood by their timelines.

They cited their own analyses of public health data, other safety considerations and workers' preferences. Adoption of vaccines, which in California are accessible to only the most vulnerable populations, is also a factor but a smaller one.

Networking gear maker Cisco Systems Inc and file-storage service Dropbox Inc said their mandatory work from home policies would remain effect until June, while Box Inc said its reopening is still scheduled for September.

P16 infographic

 

A survey late 2020 of 9,000 knowledge workers commissioned by workplace chat software company Slack found 20 percent want to work remotely, 17 percent in the office and 63 percent a mix of the two.

Facebook Inc, whose offices otherwise remain closed globally until July 2, said in March it is opening 10 percent of seats in Seattle area offices to help workers struggling at home. It did not have similar news to share about its San Francisco offices. Microsoft Corp plans to partially reopen.
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