In spite of Omicron, Google buys office building for 870 million euros

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Google is buying an office building in London for 1 billion dollars (870 million euros). The purchase shows confidence in the role of the office in the future of work.

Google has been renting the building to house some of its 6,400 UK employees. Following the purchase, Google plans to remodel the building for hundreds of millions. Construction plans include conferencing rooms and spacious workspaces to encourage on-site collaboration. Everything indicates that Google wants to return an office favoured policy as soon as possible.

In December 2021, the organization postponed global return-to-office because of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. The plan was to reopen US offices starting January 10. That plan has been changed.

Chris Rackow, Security Vice President at Google, shared that the organization would reconsider when employees could safely return to a “stable long-term work environment” at the start of the new year. Rackow’s words and the purchase of the London office building underscore Google’s confidence in the future of office work.

Varying attitudes

For the past two years, Google employees were given flexibility in how and when they worked from the office. That flexibility is expected to evaporate from the moment the organization deems the situation safe. A forced return seems inevitable.

Apple’s policy is similar. At the end of 2021, employees were tasked to show up at the office three days a week by February 2022. Like Google, Apple changed its policy due to Omicron. Although the organization’s offices remain open, employees are permitted to work from home.

On the other end of the spectrum, there’s Twitter. During the corona crisis, the organization made changes to permanently replace the office with remote work.

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