Google is planning to add new ‘hub’ offices to provide flexibility for employees, and experts say these networks of satellite offices are the future in Silicon Valley (GOOGL, GOOG)

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When will it be safe for tech employees to return to the office? What happens to employees who want to leave Silicon Valley? And what does the future of the office look like? 

These are the questions that major tech companies are grappling with as the coronavirus crisis stretches into the fall. Many large tech firms, including giants like Facebook and Google, have pushed back plans to return to the office until summer 2021, and have said they anticipate a rise in remote work.

But experts told Business Insider that the office — and Silicon Valley — will look very different by then. With workers leaving the Bay Area and companies wary to have thousands of employees all in one place, San Francisco may not be the central tech headquarters it’s been for decades.

Instead, the experts say, tech companies are going to expand outward, with small satellite offices peppered throughout the US.

“We’re going to start to see satellite locations rather than singular HQs,” Melissa Hanley, CEO of the Bay Area design firm Blitz, told Business Insider. “We might say, ‘Hey, you don’t have to commute two hours. We’re going to have a little satellite office with all the resources you need out in the ‘burbs.'” 

A hub-and-spoke model

Adam Segal, the CEO of workplace management technology company Cove, said he expects most companies will start to adopt a “remote-first approach,” meaning that working at home is the norm, not the exception. While workers might have worked remotely one or two days per week in pre-coronavirus times, in the future, that will be reversed, Segal said.

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“So what does that mean? You just have less dedicated desks,” Segal told Business Insider. “No one misses their desk — that’s not why you go to the office. You miss people, the socialization.”

Segal agrees with Hanley that the future of the office will be a so-called “hub-and-spoke” model: Companies would have a “hub,” or headquarters, in a major city, then have “spokes” anywhere in America connected by the same technology system. With Cove’s system, for example, you’d be able to look up office locations in your area, see which of your colleagues was working there, and book a desk of your choice for the day. 

Google is planning on a future that includes office hubs, according to leaked audio obtained by Business Insider’s Hugh Langley. During an October 1 all-hands meeting, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company is planning on adding new, smaller hub offices, which will give employees more flexibility around where they live. 

“In the future when we think about it, we do see the majority of Googlers’ roles will continue to be tied to a particular office and that they will live within some reasonable distance of that office,” Pichai said during the all-hands. “What we are doing is expanding the number of offices we see as hubs so that people will have a lot more choice in their lives.”

Pichai also used the phrase “hybrid-flexible” to describe how Googlers will …read more

Source:: Businessinsider – Tech


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