Google’s new Silicon Valley offices bank on in-person work

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  • Post last modified:June 29, 2022
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Google’s sprawling new Silicon Valley offices feature roofs covered with canopy-like solar panels and indoor spaces flooded with sunlight.

On June 27, AFP visited Google’s 1.1 million square foot (100,000 square metre) campus, where the tech giant welcomes employees back after pandemic-era telecommuting.

“Fortunately, a lot of what we were already planning set us up for success with Covid,” said Michelle Kaufmann, Google’s director of development for built environments. “Thank God, because we would have built these buildings and had to change,” she added.

About the Google’s campus

The campus is located on 42 acres (17 hectares) of leased federal land near NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, near the company’s headquarters. It includes an event center and small apartments that employees from out of town can use when visiting for work. Ventilation systems in the buildings use 100 percent outside air, a plus against the spread of Covid-19.

Ground floors feature cafes, fitness centers, meeting rooms, social spaces and playful touches such as multi-colored stationary bikes that people can pedal as they chat, with the option of plugging in to charge devices with power they generate. Upper floors of the two story structures are home to desks, with furniture and fixtures easily reconfigured as teams want.

Work areas are divided into “neighborhoods” with homey touches and even “courtyards” with cozy furniture. “The ground level is really like a market, so it’s more the vibrant. Upstairs is more the quiet space where the teams really do a lot of their work,” Kaufmann said.

Bay View campus is planned to accommodate 4,500 workers, with move in to take place during the coming weeks. Solar panels provide power, geothermal systems aid with heating and cooling and water collection and recycling systems result in surplus that is used to help restore wetlands on the property.

Work from the office three days per week

Google anticipates that people will typically work from the office three days per week in the future, with that rhythm changing depending on project phases and, of course, the tempo of the pandemic.

Google has more than 45,000 employees in the Silicon Valley area.

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