The big picture: Google has officially opened its Bay View campus to employees. The project, more than seven years in the making, represents the first time the tech titan has developed its own major campus but comes at a time when employee sentiment about working in an office is at a record low.
The search giant shared renderings of its futuristic campus in 2015, and the finished product looks a lot like what we initially saw years ago. Bay View is an all-electric, net water positive facility sporting the largest geothermal installation in North America. Google said it polled employees about what they need from a workplace and used the feedback to help shape its design philosophy.
“We found that they’re happy, productive and creative when they come together in teams, but need spaces that are buffered from sound and movement to get deep-focus work done,” said David Radcliffe, VP of real estate and workplace services at Google.
The upper level of Google’s campus is designated as team space, and is separated by smaller “neighborhoods” with courtyards connected via ramps. The lower level is more like a marketplace, complete with cafes and meeting spaces.
Natural light and greenery are also present throughout the facility, and Google even vetted building materials to promote the healthiest environment possible.
Google’s new campus was conceived at a time when the public’s perception of work was very different than it is today. It also came about as other tech titans like Apple and Nvidia were working on new headquarters of their own.
According to a recent survey commissioned by Slack, more than half of fully in-person office workers said they would prefer to work flexibly (in terms of location and schedule) at least part of the time. Conversely, I doubt most of those polled have the luxury of working in an office nearly as nice as Google’s new campus. Perhaps returning to the office wouldn’t be so bad if you were heading to Bay View daily?