Google Tells Employees to Start Sharing Desks in a Bid to Cut Costs

Google wants the space in its offices to be used more efficiently, so it’s forcing some employees to start sharing desks from next quarter. We have to assume chair sharing may also be involved.

As CNBC reports(Opens in a new window), an internal FAQ for “Google Cloud employees” explains how employees in Kirkland, Washington; New York City; San Francisco; Seattle; and Sunnyvale, California will need to start sharing their desk with someone else. It’s being referred to as the “Cloud Office Evolution” or “CLOE” internally.

Google believes the change will “ultimately lead to more efficient use of our space.” And once complete, it will leave Google with a few empty buildings, which should save a substantial amount of money depending on what the company does with them.

The downsizing of office space has apparently been planned for some time, with a Google spokesperson explaining:

“Since returning to the office, we’ve run pilots and conducted surveys with Cloud employees to explore different hybrid work models and help shape the best experience. Our data show Cloud Googlers value guaranteed in-person collaboration when they are in the office, as well as the option to work from home a few days each week. With this feedback, we’ve developed our new rotational model, combining the best of pre-pandemic collaboration with the flexibility and focus we’ve all come to appreciate from remote work, while also allowing us to use our spaces more efficiently.”

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Of course, this only works if employees visit the office on specified days, but Google is planning a “overflow drop-in space” for anyone who makes the journey to the office on an unassigned day.

Last month, Google’s parent Alphabet Inc. announced it was set to cut 12,000 jobs globally after expanding its headcount too rapidly over the past few years. That’s fair enough, but anyone working at Google who is now being forced to share a desk will be wondering if Alphabet is up to the task of managing budgets after it was revealed how many massage therapists the company employed.

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