Google Employees Are Being Asked to Share Desks

After laying off 11,000 employees earlier this year, Google is doing everything it can to cut costs in a recession.

Alphabet is reportedly insisting that Google employees share a desk at its five largest offices around the world, signaling just how bad the recession has gotten for the company once lorded for its incredible employee perks.

For years, the tech industry has been the gold standard for in-office benefits. From catered meals to full-on massage service, these tech firms were extremely proficient at attracting top talent through employee perks.

Google appears to be rolling back those perks, however, as the tech giant has suggested sharing desks as a way to cut costs and make their office space more efficient.

Google to Employees: Please Share Desks

Announced in an internal document acquired by CNBC, Google employees are being asked to share a desk with another employee, with each coming in on alternating days. The change will take place in the for the offices in Kirkland, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Sunnyvale.

“Most Googlers will now share a desk with one other Googler. Through the matching process, they will agree on a basic desk setup and establish norms with their desk partner and teams to ensure a positive experience in the new shared environment.” – a Google internal document

In the innovative fashion that Google is known for, the new arrangement is internally being referred to as Cloud Office Evolution, or CLOE.

Why Does Google Want Employees to Share Desks?

It's no secret that the tech industry is in cost-cutting mode, with a wide range of businesses laying off employees like it's going out of style.

Google is no different, having laid off around 11,000 employees earlier this year. Subsequently, it seems pretty clear that Google is making this move to cut costs. However, again in true tech industry fashion, Google had to spin it to make it sound like a benefit rather than a cut.

“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.” – a Google spokesperson

The newly minted focus on “efficiency” that seems to have gripped the tech industry has cost a lot of people their jobs and apparently their desks. And to make matters worse, the economic downturn isn't going to get better for an industry that used to rely on perks to get its employees to stick around.

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Written by:
Conor is the Lead Writer for Tech.co. For the last six years, he’s covered everything from tech news and product reviews to digital marketing trends and business tech innovations. He's written guest posts for the likes of Forbes, Chase, WeWork, and many others, covering tech trends, business resources, and everything in between. He's also participated in events for SXSW, Tech in Motion, and General Assembly, to name a few. He also cannot pronounce the word "colloquially" correctly. You can email Conor at conor@tech.co.
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