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Google believes in working in offices and opens a new complex

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It is 1.5 km as the crow flies from its headquarters, also in Mountain View, that the Californian group has built two huge buildings that look like glass and metal tents, covered with solar panels in the shape of a dragon scales.

Alphabet, the parent company of Google, did not disclose the amount it cost Bay View Campusplanned to accommodate up to 4,500 members of its staff.

I don’t think any of our buildings will be empty. It doesn’t worry ussaid, with a smirk, Michelle Kaufmann, architect and director of research and development for the company’s offices, during a visit for the press.

We worry more about whether we will have enough space. Because the company continues to growshe added.

At the end of March, Alphabet had around 164,000 people working for Google worldwide, a 17% increase in one year. In the San Francisco Bay Area alone, 45,000 people work for the tech giant.

Industry downturn

Its neighbor Meta (Facebook, Instagram) and other large digital companies (Microsoft, Amazon, Nvidia, Snap, Uber, etc.) recently announced a slowdown in the pace of recruitment due to the unfavorable economic context, after hiring at arm’s length during the pandemic.

Google people may work in different-looking work environments.

Photo: dpa via getty images / NOAH BERGER

Several companies, such as Twitter in San Francisco, have left the door open to telecommuting, as many people prefer this formula. Some companies are also having trouble bringing teams back on site, in particular because of the fear of COVID-19.

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% Staff [de Google] chose and obtained to work primarily from home”,”text”:”I believe that 10% of the staff [de Google] has chosen and obtained to work primarily from home”}}”>I believe that 10% of the staff [de Google] has chosen and obtained to work primarily from homenoted Michelle Kaufmann.

Attractive offices

Ms. Kaufmann hopes that the new offices, designed well before the pandemic, will meet the expectations of staff members who divide their week between face-to-face and telework.

The ground floor consists of restaurants, cafes, gyms and meeting rooms, distributed around several public squares garnished with canapes, themed dinosaur district or of nature neonfor example.

Google staff can work next to a giant dinosaur sculpture in a workspace in the new offices.

Photo: dpa via getty images / NOAH BERGER

The floor houses modular offices, separated by various pieces of furniture, but no walls, so that the teams have the privacy they need while remaining connected to the rest of the communitysaid the architect.

Google hopes to encourage creativity and teamwork, with more solitary tasks being able to be done from home.

But beware of technology addiction: in the toilets, a note gives advice on not being addicted to your phone and also warns against email apnea (when you hold your breath while checking your email).

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Designed with the environment in mind

Construction lasted five years, with ambitious environmental specifications. Alphabet has promised to stop emitting carbon dioxide by 2030.

This complex achieves carbon neutrality% of time”,”text”:”90% of time”}}”>90% of the time thanks to solar panels and geothermal batteries. All non-potable water needs are met with on-site recycled water.

And the ventilation systems use 100% outside air,%”,”text”:”instead of 20%”}}”>instead of 20% on average in offices, said Michelle Kaufmann. A feature that comes at the right time, in the era of the pandemic.

Luckily, a lot of the things we had planned are working wonderfully in relation to COVID-19, noted the architect. We thought we had another 10 years for some elements, but the virus has accelerated the process.

You can cycle inside the new Google offices.

Photo: dpa via getty images / NOAH BERGER

It ensures that workspaces have been designed with the flexibility to meet needs that no one yet imagines.

For now, the acoustics similar to that of an opera is not disturbed by the presence of many people, because the new building has just opened.

Staff members from other Google sites, visiting for a few days, will also be able to stay in one of the 240 apartments built just opposite the new buildings.

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