The pandemic has introduced a new and alternative work style, work from home, to the world. Now, a year after the first outbreak of the pandemic, companies such as Twitter, Microsoft, Visa, American Express, Mastercard, HSBC Hong Kong, Fujitsu, and St. James's Place Hong Kong are vowing to allow their employees to work from home permanently, even after the end of the pandemic.
While home offices have been on the rise, there is also a surge in demand for flexible workspaces. A KPMG survey in August revealed that about 70% of corporate CEOs have plans to downsize their office space. Nevertheless, it's too early to say that office is dead.
READ MORE: Key COVID-19 strategies of St. James's Place, from WFH forever to a wellbeing newsletter
Here are five big tech firms that still see the value in offices and plan to embrace them in one form or another for the foreseeable future, as observed by Free Office Finder:
In the US, Amazon recently acquired WeWork's building in Manhattan for an estimated US$1 billion (HK$7.75 billion). It will eventually be home to 2000 employees – which mean the tech giant will be increasing its current workforce of 4000 by half. Additionally, the business recently started leasing workspace to house its Amazon Music team. This brings the number of Amazon offices in New York City to eight.
Apple established its inaugural office space in New York City (NYC) 10 years ago, and after leasing 220,000 sq ft workspace, 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 same 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.
Facebook is tripling its local workforce in NYC and has recently leased office space in one of the city’s iconic buildings to accommodate its growth. This year, the social media giant has increased its teams by over 2600 employees, collectively bringing the number of people it employs to 22,000.
In September 2020, Google decided to lease an additional 70,000 sq ft of workspace beside its new US$1.2 billion headquarters in London. The tech giant will also be extending the lease on its 160,000 sq ft office space in the UK for a further ten years. The lease was originally due to expire in 2021.
“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,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai said.
Last month, Pichai announced extending Google's remote working arrangement to September 2021, instead of hopping on the work-from-home-forever bandwagon, which was widely anticipated. As revealed in an internal memo, the company expects employees to live within a commuting distance to their assigned office and to show up three days a week.
According to a Bloomberg report, Netflix is going to triple its office space in London and move into a new UK headquarter. Reportedly, the business is set to move into a new 87,000 sq ft commercial property.
“As part of our ongoing commitment to the UK, we are excited to expand our operations in London,” a Netflix spokesperson told Bloomberg. Speaking to The Wall Street Journal in September 2020, co-chief executive Reed Hastings said that not being able to meet with coworkers face-to-face is a ‘pure negative’.
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