WTF?! With a market cap of $1.18 trillion, Google is one of the biggest companies in the world, so one wouldn't expect some of its employees to share desks with co-workers. But that will become a reality starting from the next quarter as Google embraces "real estate efficiency."
CNBC reports that an internal FAQ document seen by the publication reveals the desk-sharing plan will affect Google Cloud employees, which make up more than a quarter of Google staff. It asks workers to alternate days they're in the office, either Monday and Wednesday, or Tuesday and Thursday, so they can share their desk with someone else. Staff can come in on unassigned days, but they will use an "overflow drop-in space" in these instances.
"Through the matching process, they [employees] 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," the document explains.
The desk-sharing program will be introduced at Google Cloud's five largest US locations: Kirkland, Washington; New York City; San Francisco; Seattle; and Sunnyvale, California.
Many people like to personalize their desks, and levels of workspace cleanliness can vary wildly from person to person. To help prevent potential arguments/fights over what state desks are left in, Google is setting up "neighborhoods" made up of 200 to 300 people that will have a vice president or a director to ensure partner allocation goes smoothly and desks are kept clean and free from personal items.
Additionally, to stop people from camping out in conference rooms instead of sitting at their desks, a booking cap is being introduced on the number of rooms that can be taken for meetings.
Google refers to the desk-sharing plan as a more efficient use of its workspace, i.e., a cost-cutting measure that will reduce the amount of real estate space it pays for. The official name is "Cloud Office Evolution."
"Since returning to the office, we've run pilots and conducted surveys with Cloud employees to explore different hybrid work models and help shape the best experience. Our data show Cloud Googlers value guaranteed in-person collaboration when they are in the office, as well as the option to work from home a few days each week," a Google spokesperson told CNBC. "With this feedback, we've developed our new rotational model, combining the best of pre-pandemic collaboration with the flexibility and focus we've all come to appreciate from remote work, while also allowing us to use our spaces more efficiently."
Google parent Alphabet became the latest tech giant to announce mass layoffs when it confirmed last month that 12,000 employees would lose their jobs. The desk-sharing initiative suggests Google isn't finished with its money-saving measures just yet.