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Google Bets Big on a Return to the Office

March 19, 2021

Some tech companies are still betting big on the return to the office once the pandemic fades. Google’s Alphabet Inc. is the latest, with a commitment to spend $7 billion this year on expanding its offices and data centers across the U.S. The company also plans to hire at least 10,000 new full-time staff over the next year as it becomes bullish on a post-pandemic recovery, The Wall Street Journal reports.

“Coming together in person to collaborate and build community is core to Google’s culture,” Sundar Pichai, Alphabet and Google chief executive, said in a blog post this week. “And it will be an important part of our future.”

Soon after the COVID-19 outbreak began in the U.S., Google was one of the first major companies to extend the time so that its employees could work remotely. That date has since been pushed to July. However, the company now expects employees to return to offices, while still leaving the door open to remote work two days a week.

Other tech giants have also committed to growing their office footprint, even at a time when other companies are looking to shrink theirs from the growth of remote work. Amazon announced this summer it would be expanding its physical offices to six U.S. cities, spotlighting the importance of still being able to one day work and collaborate once again in the same space. (Read more about Amazon’s plans.)

Google has thrived during the pandemic as online ad spending rose. Google has more than doubled its data centers since 2018 as it heavily invests in its cloud business. Still, its $7 billion commitment to expanding office and data centers this year is lower than its pre-pandemic office expenditures, which had an annual average spend of $11 billion in 2018 and 2019.

Google said that its investment plan this year will target growing its existing sites. It does plan to create three office sites in Minnesota, Texas, and North Carolina, The Wall Street Journal reports. Overall, that will then expand Google’s presence to 19 states.

Google to Invest $7 Billion in Bet on Post-Pandemic Office,” The Wall Street Journal (March 18, 2021) [Log-in required.] and “Google to Spend $7 Billion on Data Centers and Office Space in 2021,” CNBC (March 18, 2021)