Having recently pulled plans for a new office in Dublin’s docklands, Google may be focused on growing its footprint in London.
Although staff continue to work from home, Google may be eyeing up extra office space in the UK capital.
In 2017, Google submitted plans for a new London headquarters near King’s Cross station, worth £1bn. While the premises – called the ‘landscraper’ – is still under construction, the company is now “in advanced discussions” to lease an additional 70,000 sq ft of office space nearby, according to The Times.
Google has also reportedly agreed to extend its lease on an office development at Central Saint Giles near Tottenham Court Road. The lease was due to expire in 2021 but will be renewed for another 10 years.
The news follows a recent decision by the company to cancel plans for additional office space in Dublin. Google had been planning to lease a new development in the city’s docklands for 2,000 employees, but said last month that this plan would not go ahead. A spokesperson for Google said the decision was made after “much deliberation” and that the company will “continue to invest” in its Irish operation.
Moving towards a hybrid model
Google made the call in July to extend its remote working policy for another year. It originally sent staff home in March and had planned to return to offices in phases over the summer. But this was rolled back until July 2021 in light of public health advice and continued Covid-19 restrictions.
Although remote working is set to continue, Bloomberg reported this week that Google staff have been advised to return to their country of employment by the end of 2020. It was reported that this is partly due to tax and legal reasons, but exceptions may be possible for those living in high-risk areas.
Looking ahead, a hybrid working model could be in the company’s future, where employees will have both remote working and in-office work. Google and Alphabet CFO, Ruth Porat, recently told Bloomberg that while innovation requires people working together in person, the pandemic has changed the future of work and approaches to hybrid policies.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai also told Time magazine last week that he doesn’t believe the future of work will be “100pc remote”.
“We definitely value our offices, we value the culture, but we do think we need to create more flexibility, a more hybrid model,” he said.