Google has announced it will go ahead with spending $1 billion on its Central London office space. This amount jumpstarts the tech giant’s goal to revive a return to office culture among employees.
The company also forecasts its headcount to grow from 6,400 to 10,000, with Google U.K. lead, Ronan Harris, initiating a call for employees to go back to their office desks.
Harris said the new Google workspaces would be tailored for new hybrid and flexible-working conditions. This suggests Google might not be returning to the traditional pre-pandemic office set up.
Google’s office expenses have drawn criticism from various observers.
“Google’s major investment in London real estate might demonstrate a show of confidence in a return to office working, but this confidence is ill-founded and short-sighted,” says Callum Adamson, CEO and co-founder of software company Distributed, who argues Google’s move shows another attempt by big tech to go back to in-person work in the pretense of hybrid work. “Having an office space is a pre-pandemic relic that, if anything, hinders employee experience and business success,” he says.
The tech giant admits it is still trying to understand what ‘hybrid’ and ‘flexible’ really mean and how it translates to the workplace. The company has announced that it expects most of its workforce to work onsite at least three days a week. In the U.S., employees choosing to relocate or go fully remote can expect necessary salary adjustments.
It remains to be seen if Google succeeds in still making the traditional office relevant for employees and businesses.
For more information, read the original story in ZDNet.