Google is about to purchase London's Central Saint Giles development, where it is currently a tenant, as the tech giant expresses optimism for a return to the office for its employees.
Based in London's thriving West End, our investment in this striking Renzo Piano-designed development represents our continued confidence in the office as a place for in-person collaboration and connection, Ronan Harris, Google's vice president for the U.K. and Ireland, said in a blog post Friday.
Over the next few years, Google plans to add outdoor, covered working spaces, as well as flexible spaces called team pods, which can be reconfigured for individual or collaborative work.
Google, which added 700 employees last year, has more than 6,400 U.K. employees, and expects to have the capacity for 10,000 employees across all of its U.K. sites. The purchase comes as Google has a new London development that is currently under construction next to King's Cross train station.
The majority of our UK employees want to be on-site some of the time, but they also want to have the flexibility to work from home a couple of days a week. Harris said that some of our people will want to be fully remote. Our future UK workplace has room for all of those possibilities. As a result of the hybrid workweek, Google planned for its global return to the office to start as early as Jan. 10, with workers expected to come in about three days per week.
The plans have been delayed because of concerns over the spread of the coronaviruses' omicron variant.