Google Employees Asked to Share Desks Amid Layoffs
Google’s cloud unit has told employees that it will switch to a desk-sharing workspace in its five largest locations.
Employees were encouraged to rotate working days to use the available desks and increase “real estate efficiency.”
The new desk-sharing model will take effect at Google Cloud’s five most prominent locations in the US, including Kirkland in Washington, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Sunnyvale in California.
According to an internal document recently shared by cloud employees, the recent event is happening so the company “can keep investing in Cloud’s growth.”
New Google office perk just dropped.
The tech company is asking cloud employees to share office desks by alternating days with their desk mates starting next quarter.
Amid broader cost-cuts, Google cited “real estate efficiency” as the reason behind the move. pic.twitter.com/fdbMWtqG0R
— Morning Brew ☕️ (@MorningBrew) February 23, 2023
It also stated that some employees would vacate buildings as a result. The internal document stated that “Most Googlers will now share desks.
They will each agree on a basic desk setup through the matching process and establish norms with their desk partners and teams to ensure a positive work experience in the new shared environment.”
How will this affect Google employees?
The internal memo stated that employees were expected to arrive on alternate days to avoid clustering at the available desks.
It noted the use of “drop-in overflow space” for employees if they come in on an unassigned day.
A Google representative told CNBC, “Since returning to the office, we’ve run pilots and carried out surveys with Cloud employees to explore various hybrid work models and help create the best experience.
Google is asking cloud employees and partners to share their desks and alternate days with their desk mates starting next quarter, citing “real estate efficiency.” https://t.co/Cew3GMaDZe
— CNBC (@CNBC) February 23, 2023
Our data shows that Cloud Googlers value guaranteed in-person collaboration in the office. They also consider working from home a few days a week.”
The spokesperson added, “With this feedback, we’ve developed a new rotational model which combines the best of pre-pandemic collaboration with the flexibility we’ve all come to appreciate from remote work while allowing us to use our spaces more efficiently.”
It even has a name
The organization has given the new seating plan a name. “Cloud Office Evolution” or “CLOE,” which identifies as “combining the best of pre-pandemic collaboration with the flexibility” of hybrid work.
Google used internal data collected from its employee office return patterns to come up with the decision.
The document noted that this new workspace plan is not a temporary development. “This will ultimately lead to more efficient use of our space.”
Google tells employees in its Cloud unit to share desks and attend the office on alternate days https://t.co/S2gC2fNnOC
— Insider Business (@BusinessInsider) February 23, 2023
This move comes as Google tries to downsize its real estate footprint while cutting costs.
The cloud unit is one of the company’s highest-growing areas, making up more than a quarter of its full-time workforce, but unfortunately, it is not profitable.
The company has cut back on hiring after laying off about 11,000 workers in January. However, Google has not specified which regions or buildings it will downsize.
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