Google, the technology giant known for its lavish employee benefits and office perks, is asking some of its remaining employees to share desk space in an effort to cut costs. This initiative is being implemented in some of the company’s top locations including Kirkland, Washington; New York City; San Francisco; Seattle; and Sunnyvale, California.
The move comes on the heels of Google’s announcement in January that it would be laying off 12,000 of its workers. This was a significant departure from the company’s previous reputation as a company that took care of its employees with generous benefits and perks.
In an internal memo, Google informed affected team members that they will be required to come to their office space on alternate days, either on Mondays and Wednesdays or Tuesdays and Thursdays, so that two employees are not working at the same physical desk. If it’s not possible to come in on one of those days, employees will have to use what Google calls “overflow drop-in space” for work.
The memo added: “Most Googlers will now share a desk with one other Googler,” the internal document stated, noting they expect employees to come in on alternate days so they’re not at the same desk on the same day. “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.”
It’s common for companies to look for ways to reduce costs during tough economic times. However, it remains to be seen whether this initiative will have a lasting impact on employee morale and productivity.
Google’s decision to downsize its office space and ask employees to share desks is a clear sign that even the biggest and most successful companies are not immune to the challenges of a changing economy. As companies continue to adapt to the post-pandemic world, it will be interesting to see how they balance the need for cost-cutting measures with the desire to maintain a positive company culture and employee morale.