Google wants to invest 9.5 billion dollars (8.8 billion euros) in US offices and data centres over the next two years. The organization seems determined to return to the office.

Since the beginning of April, some Google employees have returned to the office three days a week. The policy applies to several offices in the United States and the United Kingdom. For the past two years, employees were permitted a personal choice between home and office work. Now, Google’s flexible attitude appears to be fading. The end of an era is drawing near.

Today, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced that the organisation wants to invest 9.5 billion dollars (8.8 billion euros) in US offices and data centres over the next two years. The money is intended for dozens of projects in several states, including an office campus in Washington State and a data centre in Nebraska.

The organisation expects to create 12,000 new full-time jobs within the year. In the past five years, Google invested $37 billion in US offices and data centres, resulting in more than 40,000 full-time jobs.

Contradictory

“It might seem counterintuitive to step up our investment in physical offices, even as we embrace more flexibility in how we work”, Pichai said. The CEO asserts that Google is embracing remote work. Although the investment plans tell another story, there’s some ground to the claim. A leaked, internal email from March 2022 shows that the organisation allowed over 14,000 employees to work entirely from home or a new location. 15 percent of all requests were denied, but there are signs of flexibility.

Laszlo Bock, Google’s HR chief between 2006 and 2016, thinks otherwise. The ex-manager expects all employees to return to the office within three to five years. According to Bock, Google’s management is eager to go back. “Leaders have the greatest difficulty with virtual leadership”, he recently told Bloomberg.

Opinions are divided. Throughout the pandemic, the world’s largest tech companies presented hybrid work as the future. Now that the health risk of COVID-19 is diminishing, the future appears less black or white than thought.