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If Work Is Going Remote, Why Is Big Tech Still Building?


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construction workers on roof of Google building

A Google building under construction.

A remote work revolution is upon us. At the same time, Google and Facebook have unveiled plans to build new campuses. What gives?

It comes down, in large part, to simple math: Silicon Valley's giants are growing too fast to loosen their grip on physical space. While Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has floated a goal of 50 percent remote work, internal surveys show that most Facebook employees are eager to get back to the office. Meanwhile, in the last year alone, Facebook grew its headcount by 13,000, putting the total number of employees at more than 58,000.

In the depths of the pandemic, "it's easy to lose track of the bigger picture," says Mark Muro, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. For decades, Muro has been searching for evidence of decentralization. The idea was that technology would make it possible for people to work from anywhere, making offices and cities less relevant. What we got was the opposite. Fast-growing tech firms clustered in a few cities. Other cities grew, and technology companies did expand elsewhere. But tech hubs like San Jose and Seattle simply grew faster.

From Wired
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