Wednesday 18th November 2020 5 Tech Giants Showing Confidence in the Office Space Market

You’ll have a difficult job browsing content platforms nowadays without coming across articles focusing on – or at least alluding in some way to – the working from home revolution. A whole host of companies, including Twitter, have announced that they will allow staff to continue WFH permanently if they wish, following its success throughout lockdown.

However, an increasing number of employees and employers alike are coming to the realisation that WFH isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Cramped and uncomfortable working conditions, distracting housemates and noisy neighbours, the rising cost of utilities; these are just a few of the things that make WFH an unviable long-term solution for many workers. It’s also an unsustainable option for businesses that thrive on innovation and creative thinking.

Here are five successful tech brands that still see the value in offices and plan to embrace them in one form or another for the foreseeable future.

1. Netflix

Among the companies looking to increase their office footprint is Netflix. According to a Bloomberg report, the technology and production company is going to triple its office space in London and move into a new UK HQ.

Reportedly, the business is set to move into a new 87,000 sq ft commercial property on Berners Street in the West End, which is situated just off Oxford Street near Oxford Circus and Tottenham Court Road Underground Station.

“As part of our ongoing commitment to the U.K., we are excited to expand our operations in London,” a Netflix spokesperson told Bloomberg. Speaking to The Wall Street Journal in September, Co-Chief Executive Reed Hastings said that not being able to meet with coworkers face-to-face is a ‘pure negative’.

2. Google

Also in September 2020, The Times reported that Google has decided to lease an additional 70,000 sq ft of workspace beside its new $1.2 billion headquarters in King’s Cross, London.

The tech giant will also be extending the lease on its 160,000 sq ft office space in the Central Saint Giles building located near Tottenham Court Road for a further ten years. The lease was due to expire in 2021.

Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said in an interview at the TIME100 Honorees’ Visions for the Future event:

“We firmly believe that in-person, being together, having a sense of community is super important when you have to solve hard problems and create something new so we don’t see that changing. But we do think we need to create more flexibility and more hybrid models.”

3. Amazon

Over in the US, Amazon recently acquired the Taylor flagship building in Midtown Manhattan from WeWork for an estimated $1 billion. It will eventually be home to 2,000 employees – which means the tech giant will be increasing its current workforce of 4,000 by half.

This brings the number of Amazon offices in New York City to eight. Most are located in Midtown Manhattan, however the business recently started leasing workspace on the Brooklyn waterfront to house its Amazon Music team.

4. Apple

Apple established its inaugural office space in New York City ten years ago, and after leasing 220,000 sq ft in the 11 Penn Plaza building, it’s set to expand. According to a Business Insider report, the company is aiming to take on an additional 60,000 sq ft in the building.

That said, Apple is apparently negotiating with its landlords and ‘nothing concrete’ is in place yet, so they may not end up expanding. Either way, the discussions can be seen as a demonstration of confidence in the office space market in NYC.

5. Facebook

Facebook is tripling its local workforce in NYC and has recently leased office space in one of the city’s iconic buildings – a 107-year-old former main post office complex near Pennsylvania Station – to accommodate its growth.

This year, Facebook, along with Amazon and Google, have increased their teams by over 2,600 employees, collectively bringing the number of people they employ to 22,000. Together, the three tech juggernauts have also acquired 1.6 million sq ft of workspace since the start of 2020.

Is the future of work really going to be ‘hybrid’?

Free Office Finder believe that the future of work will be hybrid and that flexible workspace will play an increasingly critical role when it comes to accommodating this approach. Covid-19 is acting as a catalyst for trends that were already emerging; there was a strong appetite for a flexible working way before the pandemic hit and that’s not going to change anytime soon.

 

This is a guest post by our friend Nick Riesel, Managing Director of FreeOfficeFinder.
Photo credit: bennymarty – stock.adobe.com

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Workplace Trends: The Changing Nature of Work, 18 October 2017
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We spend a lot of time at Workplace Trends watching tweets and posts about the workplace. Here are a few of our favourites from the last few days that we thought you might enjoy.


Til desk do us part: Will offices of the future have desks? Nigel Oseland muses this on on behalf of the WCO

Is the traditional office desk obsolete? The desk, the workstation, that slab of “wood” that the majority of office workers sit at is getting smaller. Gone are the days of the 1800 x 1800 mm corner core, and my 2 m wide and 1 m deep bench desk at an architect’s practice; the 1600 mm wide homogenous bench has become a 1400 mm and recently I worked with an NHS Trust where the standard workstation was a mere 1200 mm but the facilities team were actually rolling out 1 m “back to school” style desks…
Read More…


Office design must work for people of every age – and keep them well

With four generations in the workplace for the first time, it is now more important than ever that the physical office environment is able to accommodate different working styles,
Nicola Gillen, global practice lead of strategy at AECOM writes…
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The Science of the Workplace: Ten demonstrable truths about the workplace you may not know

If you missed Kerstin Sailer speaking at last October’s Workplace Trends Conference, her article for Workplace Insight covers some of what she spoke about.
The science of the workplace has gained a lot of interest over the last few years, highlighting recurring patterns of human behaviour as well as how organisational behaviour relates to office design. In theory, knowledge from this growing body of research could be used to inform design. In practice, this is rarely the case. A survey of 420 architects and designers highlighted a large gap between research and practice…
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It’s a fact: Live plants & natural light in an office space impact creativity.

Should a ‘work’ place be any different from the other spaces people inhabit? The relationship between individuals and their environment can be a crucial determinant of how they feel, perform and interact with others. So, designing spaces that inspire, energize and support the people who use them is a global imperative. People’s connection to nature – biophilia– is an emergent field that can help organisations meet that challenge. This unique study from Human Spaces explores the relationship between psychological well-being, work environments and employee expectations on a global scale for the first time…
Read or download the report…


Can we enhance student living environments to better respond to the needs of today’s students?

Thinking ahead to our next Learning Environments Conference, this recent research caught our eye. Gensler conducted a three-year study focused on student life on university campuses, and the role of the residence hall in fostering student success. In the first phase of the research, they examined the study habits of high school seniors using surveys, focus groups, and one-on-one interviews to document their preferred methods of learning before attending university…
Read or download the report…


Workplace Trends Spring Summit: Wellbeing & Productivity

Don’t forget to book your early bird tickets for Workplace Trends: Wellbeing & Productivity on 22 March at Kings Place, London. Workplace Trends is the most intellectually stimulating, independent, pitch-free and sociable Workplace event of the year. Join 150+ workplace designers and occupiers to learn and discuss issues including Biomimicry & Biophilic Design, Designing for Creativity, Collaboration & Concentration, Using Building Data, Technology & Innovation, & The WELL Building Standard…
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