The plight of the Googlers continues.
No Desk for You
The rise and fall of the Bean Bag Empire continues. Amid Google's mounting AI war woes — spoiler: it's losing — CNBC now reports that the company has officially commanded its loyal Googlers to start sharing desks.
"Most Googlers will now share a desk with one other Googler," reads the internal memo, according to CNBC. "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 decision, per CNBC, is being chalked up to "real estate efficiency" in a hybrid-work world. In a fluid office environment, no one needs all that space — especially not a company that lost a cool $100 billion after its AI screwed up very publicly.
According to CNBC, the model — internally dubbed "Cloud Office Evolution" or "CLOE" and reportedly described in a separate internal document as a company effort to "[combine] the best of pre-pandemic collaboration with the flexibility" of hybrid work — will be implemented at Google Cloud's five biggest campuses.
Some buildings, that same document reportedly noted, will ultimately be "vacated." Oof.
If it's any consolation, CNBC reports that the Googlers were told that deskmates can alternate office days. And this time around, they weren't warned by any managers that there would be "blood on the streets" if productivity doesn't increase. So, you know, small wins.
Still, the change is yet another blow to Googlers everywhere who, until recently, have long enjoyed the cushy perks of the ping-pong-happy, pre-pandemic Silicon Valley work culture — a culture that, in the wake of several high-profile industry layoffs and widespread cost-cutting measures, increasingly feels like a soon-to-be-relic of the tech industry's past.
"Not every cost-cutting measure needs to be word mangled into sounding good for employees," one employee fumed on an internal messaging platform, according to CNBC. "A simple 'We are cutting office space to reduce costs' would make leadership sound more believable."
For the Kids
For its part, Google says the change has everything to do with their Googlers' happiness, actually.
"Our data show Cloud Googlers value guaranteed in-person collaboration when they are in the office," a Google spokesperson told CNBC, "as well as the option to work from home a few days each week."
"With this feedback," they added, "we've developed our new rotational model, combining the best of pre-pandemic collaboration with the flexibility and focus we've all come to appreciate from remote work, while also allowing us to use our spaces more efficiently."
In any case, at least the Googlers are still better off than their peers at Tesla.
READ MORE: Google asks some employees to share desks amid office downsizing [CNBC]
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