Google Abandons Plan to Rent Dublin Office for 2,000 Workers

Dublin Ireland
Alan Clerkin

Alan Clerkin

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Google has abandoned plans to rent additional office space in Dublin, which was to house up to 2,000 further workers, adding to the uncertainty over the future of traditional office.

Google had been in talks to rent about 202,000 sq ft (18,766 square meters) of space at the Sorting Office, close to Dublin’s south quays, adding to its array of sites in the city.

It emerged on Monday evening that the move would not proceed. One source familiar with the plan indicated it was simply not a good time for companies to invest in commercial office space “while they are looking at what the future of work looks like”.

Recently, we covered the commercial property sector in our blog and stated that office rents in Dublin are expected to fall and vacancies rise as occupiers rethink their post Covid requirements to reflect more employees working from home, and in cases fewer staff requirements and that large employers in Dublin ‘will no doubt seek to establish more permanent remote working protocols and structures. Deloitte Ireland recently stated “that with office employees now working remotely for almost six months, the impact on office occupier activity is worse than anyone anticipated in March. No surprise then Google have cancelled such an expansion in the Dublin office market.

Google is a big player in Dublin’s commercial property scene, employing thousands of workers and occupying offices around the city’s Docklands. While the company plans to continue to invest in its Irish operations, the decision not to proceed with the new office expansion, will be keenly watched, as investors weigh the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the city.

The tech giant still maintains a considerable bricks-and-mortar footprint in the city – about 1.12 million sq ft (104,051 sq m) of space, or enough for some 11,000 workers.

Google, Amazon, LinkedIn, Facebook and Salesforce have been in the process of establishing five individual campuses covering a total area of 3.6 million square feet between the north and south docklands, at the Baggot Street and Charlemont sections of the Grand Canal, and in Ballsbridge.

Once finished, this level of office space stands to accommodate around 36,000 workers, not including the thousands of additional personnel Google, Facebook and Salesforce have recruited to work in their offices in the Sandyford Business District (SBD) in south Dublin.

As covered by our blog before the Google announcement, “Google have recently announced all their global workforce can work remotely not only in 2020 but all the way into 2021. The large firms are leading the way in remote working. The pandemic has really shown companies the necessity of certain staff and the obvious non necessity of other staff.”

As mentioned in previous posts, the traditional office is dead and the end of the traditional office, probably has being fast forwarded due to the pandemic. However the office in it’s entirety is not totally finished, but it will be more part time, as remote working is embraced, leading to a huge decrease in square meter requirements. The huge decrease in footfall in the city along with online shopping, will result in a huge amount of current retail businesses, becoming non viable. It already is non viable. The government and business, needs to plan for the future of Dublin, as business, technology, offices and retail are changing at such a vast rate, the destruction to the traditional retail and office space is beyond words.

In a recent survey carried out by recruiter ‘Robert Walters’ found that 37% of businesses in Ireland are considering a downsize in office space. So aside from the tech giants implementing a more permanent remote working policy for staff, other companies sectors are looking to do the same. A recent study carried out by PwC, found that over 60% of Irish companies are looking at ways to make remote working a permanent option for their employees. Companies such as Allied Irish Bank, have 7,500 employees working from home and may have plans for more permanent work from home implementation in the future for a sizable percentage of their staff. Food company, Glambia’s office based staff are working from home.

The future of the office is both physical and virtual. Employees will engage in remote working more and more and only visit the HQ office once or twice a week. Employers will rent and take up less physical office space and engage more in serviced office space along with flexible working conditions in addition to co-working and virtual office services in Dublin.