Google was reported to have moved to a desk-sharing model for its Cloud workforce last month. Google CEO Sundar Pichai has come forward to defend the latest cost-cutting measure. Pichai claims that the desk-sharing policy for the Cloud unit’s employees is not only to save resources but also to stop the office from looking like a ‘ghost town’. 

Google CEO Sundar Pichai, at an all-hands meeting, essentially reminded staff members that real estate is pricey and some of the company’s offices remain empty. According to a report by CNBC, the company even named the downsizing effort as ‘Cloud Office Evolution’, or CLOE, which requires cloud employees and partners to share desks at the division’s five largest locations, including San Francisco and New York. According to Pichai, the new policy is only for cloud employees at the moment, and the company is giving teams the freedom to experiment.

Pichai addressed employee concerns regarding the rollout of the desk-sharing policy and how it was communicated to the workforce. The feedback from the employees was that the “double-speak is disrespectful and frustrating,” and “not every cost-cutting measure needs to be word mangled into sounding good for employees.” Pichai acknowledged the feedback and promised to be straightforward in communication.

Furthering Pichai’s efforts to justify the desk-sharing practice, Google Cloud’s strategy and operations vice president, Anas Osman, said that sharing led to more productivity, and the data from the pilot shows that “Googlers reported significantly better collaboration when they had assigned days in the office even if that was in a rotational model and a shared desk.” 

Google employees were given the option of having a dedicated or a shared desk during the pilot, and 1-to-1 desks were utilized roughly 35 per cent of the time at four days or more, according to the report.

Google Layoffs the reason behind ‘ghost town’ offices?

Google has laid off 12,000 employees from its offices globally. The company expects to incur costs of about $500 million in the current period related to reduced global office space. The slow growth in revenue has been attributed to the layoffs. The company also fired over 400 employees from their Google India offices. However, there’s no talk of shrinkage in office real estate. 

Also read: ‘Un-Googley, rushed and botched’: Google employees are not happy with CEO Sundar Pichai

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