What Twitter’s Move to Shutter Offices Signals for Big Tech

Twitter executives can do this he currently travels the world globetrotting between the company’s 38 offices, from San Francisco, Sydney and Seoul to New Delhi, London and Dublin.

But not for much longer. On July 27, the company sent a memo to employees saying an office in San Francisco would be closing; plans for a new office in Oakland, California, would be abandoned; and the future of seven locations was being carefully considered as part of a cost-cutting measure. Five other offices worldwide would definitely be downsized. It’s all part of an attempt to prepare the company for Elon Musk’s buyout and rein in spending as much as possible.

Twitter isn’t the first to downsize office space. In early June, Yahoo was rumored to be getting rid of its 650,000-square-foot San Jose campus, which wasn’t completed until the end of 2021. Later that month, Yelp announced that it was getting close to going completely remote and that enclosed 450,000 square feet. of office space in the United States. It was followed a week later by Netflix, which said it plans to sublease about 180,000 square feet of property in California as part of a broader company downsizing. That was echoed by Salesforce, which subleased half of its namesake San Francisco tower block in mid-July.

Twitter is likely to be one of many companies making the same decision, says Daniel Ismail, senior analyst at real estate research firm Green Street. “Even for technology companies, which are some of the most profitable and valuable companies in the world, the office is still an expense, and it may not be critical in the future.”

Big tech companies have been at the forefront of some of the biggest issues that are throwing the future of work into motion. From the ability to work remotely from anywhere, which Meta has embraced, to simply spending less time in the office and more time at home, Big Tech companies, due to the fact that they often develop the infrastructure and products that allow remote control. work: They have been more willing to test the concept ahead of traditional businesses. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that 27 percent of American workers in “computer and math occupations” worked remotely at some point in the past four weeks. “The pandemic showed that remote work was not only quite viable for many companies, but also that many employees really like it and that it could be productive,” says Ismail. It is having an impact not only on grassroots workers, but it extends to the upper levels of management. On August 2, the Financial Times reported that Instagram boss Adam Mosseri would be moving to London, away from Meta’s headquarters in California. Mosseri follows colleagues such as Javier Olivan, who is spending more time in Spain since replacing Sheryl Sandberg as chief operating officer, and Guy Rosen, vice president of integrity, who had planned to move to Israel.

Phil Ryan, director of city futures and global vision at property advisers JLL, says that while many Big Tech companies are reducing their workspace portfolio, others are continuing to buy, becoming a mixed market. These purchases tend to leave Big Tech’s traditional homes on the coasts, moving inland to places like the suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona. However, Ryan does acknowledge that there has been what he calls a “rationalization” of office space among some larger firms. “There are a lot of companies, especially in the Bay Area, with multiple locations in a specific metro area that will consolidate that space,” he says.

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