Google announced that it would spend $1 billion to buy its office building near Tottenham Court Road in London, indicating that the company is making a big bet on the resumption of work offline. In fact, Google is also building a new headquarters in London’s King’s Cross, because they see the office as a “place where people collaborate and build relationships.”
When combined with offices elsewhere in the UK, the deal will bring Google’s workforce to 10,000 in the country. Google currently employs 6,400 people in the UK, but the company has said it has added nearly 700 jobs in the past year, with 165 still open. Despite uncertainty about employees’ willingness to resume work offline, Google has decided to invest in an office building on Central St Giles Street.
In England, many offices have been forced to close or be repurposed as vacancy rates surged during the pandemic as demand for work contracts fell. Real estate agencies expect market redundancy in the coming years as people work more flexibly.
But high-end offices with top-notch environmental credentials are still in demand for companies and investors who must meet stringent emissions targets and want to boost their talent competitiveness. Internally at Google, the company said “some” UK employees have decided to permanently switch to a remote work model. Globally, about 20% of Google employees are allowed to work from home 24/7.
Google has adjusted and extended its remote work policy several times during the pandemic. They also recently told employees that the goal is to have employees in the office 3 days a week. Google’s leadership has been firm on vaccinations and has announced a series of incentives, such as paid and then unpaid leave for employees who refuse to be vaccinated.
Google said some of the company’s investment will be used to repurpose existing office space. Google CFO Ruth Porat said in a statement: “We have had the privilege of operating in the UK for almost 20 years, and this purchase of the central St Gilles Street office reflects our commitment to growth and success in the country. continued commitment.”
Moreover, Google will be the new landlord for existing businesses on Central St Giles, including NBC Universal. Google also said that the company’s tenants will not change as a result of the purchase. Google’s King’s Cross campus is also similar in cost to the central St Gilles Street office building, where construction began in 2017 but no completion date has been set.