During a recent companywide meeting, Google CEO Sundar Pichai defended the company’s new desk-sharing policy for employees. According to Pichai, the company aims for efficiency and cost-effectiveness and wants to utilize available resources properly.
CNBC obtained audio of the meeting in which Pichai said Google’s offices are practically empty. “There are people, by the way,” said the CEO, “who routinely complain that they come in and there are big swaths of empty desks, and it feels like it’s a ghost town — it’s just not a nice experience.”
Desk-sharing is part of a downsizing effort called Cloud Office Evolution. CNBC reported on CLOE in February, detailing Google’s plans to ask Cloud employees and partners to share desks in the division’s largest offices.
During the meeting, Pichai mentioned that many employees are coming into the office only two days a week, which is an inefficient use of the current space. He also stressed that the company should be good stewards of financial resources and careful about how it thinks about real estate, as Google has expensive (and expansive) properties.
At the same meeting where Pichai addressed desk-sharing, Google Cloud‘s strategy and operations vice president, Anas Osman, reported that approximately one-third of employees were at company offices up to four days weekly. Additionally, employees said they experienced notably improved collaboration when assigned office days, even when factoring in shared desk rotations.
Responding to comments during the meeting from concerned employees about various issues—including how Google communicated its desk-sharing policy to the company at large—Pichai acknowledged the sentiment and said the feedback was valid.