With workers still at home, Google buys $2.1 billion new office
by Paul Davenport Paul Davenport on

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Despite committing to a work-from-anywhere policy across much of their workforce, Google just broke the pandemic record for a commercial real estate sale by committing $2.1 billion toward a new office in New York City.

This comes as the company details plans to grow their workforce in New York City from 12,000 to 14,000 employees, with many (if not most) expected to have an in-office presence once pandemic restrictions are loosened.

“As Google moves toward a more flexible hybrid approach to work, coming together in person to collaborate and build community will remain an important part of our future. It is why we continue investing in our offices around the world,” reads a blog post from Alphabet and Google CFO Ruth Porat.

The new building will anchor Google’s already massive 1.7 million-square-foot Hudson Square campus, which the tech giant is aiming to increase occupancy of in early 2022.

This is just the latest sign that despite a big hunger for hybrid remote schedules across the workforce—81 percent of knowledge workers polled by AppNeta in the 2021 State of Work From Anywhere Outlook want some permanent element of remote work—companies will still be leveraging physical offices for the long-term.

Recently, Facebook bought the former Bellevue, Washington, headquarters of outdoor retailer REI for $390 million, giving the social media company an additional 400,000 square feet of office space, despite postponing a firm return-to-office deadline for workers indefinitely.

That pales in comparison, however, to the $430 billion that Apple has committed to building new facilities to house up to 20,000 workers in the United States. The company said in April that their latest commitment to deliver 20,000 new jobs—which doubles down on a previous commitment from 2018—will result in new facilities in Colorado, Massachusetts, Texas, Washington, New York, and California.

All of this is to say that the death of the office that was forecasted at the start of the pandemic is greatly exaggerated. But the issues that businesses face in supporting their workforce—in-office or otherwise—have changed dramatically.

This is perhaps most true for enterprise IT teams, who overnight had to digitally transform their network infrastructure to support a fully remote workforce, in many cases for the first time. This changed the workflows and responsibilities of IT and network operations teams indefinitely into a more cloud-dependent, decentralized organization.

A return to the office isn’t going to mean flipping a switch back to the legacy network management strategies that were prevalent pre-pandemic. Instead, teams are going to need to start adopting a user-centric approach to network management that ensures a more mobile and agile workforce enjoy solid app and network performance wherever they log on.

By thinking beyond the traditional walls and boundaries of the office when considering network stakeholders and the tools used to manage performance, teams can better support the inevitable work-from-anywhere future.

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Filed Under: Industry Insights

Tags: real estate, network performance monitoring, network management, network monitoring, visibility, observability, hybrid office, work from home, work from anywhere, remote work, hybrid work, back to office, real estate, alphabet, office, google

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