Google to lease extra 70,000 sq ft of London office space

Move comes weeks after tech giant scrapped plans for new Dublin building

Google’s request for more space comes despite many big companies attempting to shrink the size of their offices due to the coronavirus pandemic. Photograph: AFP via Getty

Google’s request for more space comes despite many big companies attempting to shrink the size of their offices due to the coronavirus pandemic. Photograph: AFP via Getty

 

Google is to lease an additional 70,000 sq ft in office buildings close to its £1 billion (€1.1 billion) new UK headquarters in London, despite telling all of its 4,500 UK staff that they will be working from home until at least July 2021

The move comes after Google scrapped plans earlier this month to rent a building in Dublin with capacity for 2,000 workers. It said it was “committed to Ireland” but did not explain the decision.

The US tech giant, which is in the process of building a 330 metre-long office building nicknamed the “landscraper” next to King’s Cross railway station in London, is reportedly in advanced talks to lease more space in nearby offices.

Google’s request for more space comes despite many big companies attempting to shrink the size of their offices due to the coronavirus pandemic, as many workers are expected to continue working for home for many more months.

The new London landscaper’s 330 metres will make it longer than the 310-metre height of the famous Shard skyscraper. The building has a capacity of up to 4,000 workers. It stands 11 storeys tall, is topped with a roof garden, and will boast a 25-metre swimming pool, indoor basketball court and “nap pods” for weary staff.

Google is also planning to take over an eight-year lease of around 70,000 sq ft across two buildings nearby in King’s Cross from publishing company Macmillan, according to a report in The Times. Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The company has also agreed to extend a lease at the Central Saint Giles development near Tottenham Court Road, for a further decade.

Five days a week

Google’s expansion comes despite experts predicting that people will not return to spending five days a week in the workplace even when the pandemic is over.

Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief executive, last week said the company would focus on a “hybrid” model that would include both office and remote working.

“We firmly believe that in-person, being together, having that sense of community is super important for whenever you have to solve hard problems, you have to create something new,” he told Time magazine.

“We don’t see that changing. So we don’t think the future is 100 per cent remote, we definitely value our offices, we value the culture, but we do think we need to create more flexibility, a more hybrid model.”

It emerged on Tuesday that the company had advised workers to return to the country where they are employed by the end of the year.

In Ireland, Google’s European headquarters, many technology employees who temporarily left the country during the worst of the pandemic “have been asked to return by year end, partly due to tax and legal reasons”. – Guardian service