Over the past two years, Google has committed to eventually bringing its employees back into the office as part of a “flexible workweek.” Google’s latest commitment to this model is purchasing its existing UK office for $1 billion. 

In 2011, Google moved into the mixed-use Central Saint Giles development in central London. Featuring very colorful facades, it has 408,000 square feet of office space, 25,000 square feet of restaurants/cafes, and 17,000 square feet of roof terraces, as well as 109 residential apartments. 

Based in London’s thriving West End, our investment in this striking Renzo Piano-designed development represents our continued confidence in the office as a place for in-person collaboration and connection.

In addition to the $1 billion purchase, the company announced a multimillion-pound refurbishment of its offices within Central Saint Giles to “ensure that they are best equipped to meet the needs of our future workplace.”

We’ll be introducing new types of collaboration spaces for in-person teamwork, as well as creating more overall space to improve wellbeing. We’ll introduce team pods, which are flexible new space types that can be reconfigured in multiple ways, supporting focused work, collaboration or both, based on team needs. The new refurbishment will also feature outdoor covered working spaces to enable work in the fresh air.

Image credit: BDG Architects 2021

This purchase and upgrade come as construction on Google’s very large King’s Cross office continues. The company will eventually have room for 10,000 employees across all UK buildings. It currently has 6,400 employees after adding 700 new people last year.

Google believes physical offices allow for improved collaboration and spontaneity. Once conditions improve, most Googlers will be required to come in a few days every week, but can spend the remaining days working from home.

Cover image via Central Saint Giles

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About the Author

Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: abner@9to5g.com