Google debuts new California eco-office to encourage staff to return

Google increases parental leave to 14 weeks for working parentsSomething for the weekend: As some employers embrace the ‘new normal’ of hybrid and remote working, Google has unveiled new Californian headquarters designed to tempt staff to return to the physical office.

The Bay View campus on the San Francisco Bay in Mountain View was designed by Bjarke Ingels Group and Heatherwick Studio, as well as Google’s own design and engineering teams. It will house 4,000 employees across 42 acres, and also has 20 acres of open space, two office buildings, a 1,000-person event centre, 240 short-term employee accommodation units, a hotel for temporary workers, and indoor courtyards designed to make staff feel like they are outdoors.

The campus design has incorporated what the business calls ‘biophilic design principles’, which include greenery, natural daylight and views outside from every desk to improve workers’ health and wellbeing.

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According to the Google, the interior of the buildings were designed in response to its understanding of the future of work, why staff come to the office, and what they need from both their colleagues and the business. The aim was to balance employees’ desire to come together as teams with an environment that enables deep-focus work, with dedicated team spaces on the upper level and gathering spaces below.

As for the exterior of the buildings, the roofs feature 90,000 ‘dragonscale’ solar panels in order to deliver on its commitment to operate every hour of every day on carbon-free energy by 2030. Combined with nearby wind farms, the panels will power Bay View on carbon-free energy 90% of the time.

News of the state-of-the-art workspace is just one of the business’ strategies to lure people out of their houses; it follows Google’s ‘return-to-office’ celebration last month, which featured internationally acclaimed artist Lizzo, performing at the Shoreline Amphitheatre located at its Mountain View location.

A spokesperson for the business said: “This is the first time we designed and developed one of our major campuses, which allowed us to rethink the very idea of an office and what’s possible for the building industry. The result is a set of buildings that show what’s possible in human-centered and sustainable workplace design.”

Here at Employee Benefits, we have certainly seen the light when it comes to working remotely. However, if anything was to tempt us back to the office every day, this focus on employee wellbeing, dynamic workspaces, and renewable energy – not to mention Lizzo – might be just the thing.