Big Tech makes a big bet: offices are still the future


Small tech companies, given their financial constraints, may have to choose between investing in physical spaces or adopting a more flexible strategy. Twitter continued to add offices in Silicon Valley, and video game developers like Electronic Arts and Epic Games expanded into places like Canada and North Carolina. But others have reduce.

Zynga, a gaming company, offered to sublet its 185,000 square foot headquarters in San Francisco last summer because it decided that downsizing its physical office and moving it would make life easier for employees, said Ken Stuart, vice president of real estate at Zynga. Its new building in San Mateo, Calif., will be less than half its size.

“The reality is that people are frustrated with the commute and getting into town, and also people feel like they can do a better job being hybrid,” Stuart said.

By contrast, the biggest tech giants “have so much money it doesn’t matter,” said Anne Helen Petersen, co-author of “Out of Office,” a recent book about the era. remote work. Because of their huge budgets, Ms. Petersen suggested, these companies can continue to build offices without worrying about the money they stand to lose if the buildings become obsolete.

“They’re hedging their bets,” Ms Petersen said. “If the future is to be fully distributed, ‘we’ll set up a device for that.’ If the future comes down to bringing everyone back to the office, as it did in 2020, “we’ll get back to that.”

In Tempe, the two-story WeWork coworking space at the Watermark, one of the main office spaces, was buzzing with activity on a recent afternoon. Upstairs, Amazon rented an entire floor.


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