Google is going to ask some of its employees to start sharing desks

Man works on computer in office
(Image credit: Pixabay)

Google’s Cloud division has sent a memo out to its employees notifying them of an upcoming change to office arrangements that will see them having to share desks with a colleague.

According to a document seen by CNBC, halving the amount of desk space needed will enable Google to vacate some of its buildings as part of its ongoing cost-cutting effort.

The change comes as the broader Google company expects to incur $500 million in costs relating to reduced global office space in this quarter alone.

Google Cloud desk sharing

Five of Google Cloud’s primary locations - Kirkland, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Sunnyvale - will be affected by the change, which the company is calling CLOE (Cloud Office Evolution).

Workers will be asked to partner up with somebody who they can share a desk setup with, and to alternate their office days: Monday and Wednesday, and Tuesday and Thursday. The notice reads:

“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.”

The change sees a revision to the company’s existing policy that requires workers to be in the office three days per week. Workers can continue to do so if they wish, however any additional office days will see them relocated to an “overflow drop-in space”.

Additionally, teams will be split up into “neighborhoods” with a local VP or director taking charge of the desk sharing situation.

Unsurprisingly, Google Cloud workers have been vocal about the change, however they seem to be less bothered about the desk-sharing setup and more bothered about how it was presented to them by the company. 

One meme on the company platform Memegen read: “Not every cost-cutting measure needs to be word mangled into sounding good for employees.”

As companies continue to reduce headcounts, slow down on hiring, and reduce costs in countless other areas, it’s clear that workers value transparency and openness about the changes that affect them. 


Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!