back to article Google splurging cash on UK offices to lure staffers back from the kitchen table

Google is splashing the cash in the UK with a billion-dollar purchase of a London property as the ad biz looks to the office as "a place for in-person collaboration and connection." The UK arm of the Chocolate Factory, which paid £50.4m in taxes for the year ended 30 June 2020, is spread over a number of sites and currently …

  1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
    Big Brother

    "team pods"

    Google watched The Matrix and was horrified by the dystopian vision of scaling inefficiencies where only one person is in a pod.

    1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: "team pods"

      Think bunk beds, with 3 to a bunk. Google has it's staff's best interests at heart in the same way that a dairy has the cows best interests at heart. And for the same reason.

      1. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: "team pods"

        " in the same way that a dairy has the cows best interests at heart. And for the same reason."

        They want to milk them?

        1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

          Re: "team pods"

          They already milk us for data

        2. Korev Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: "team pods"

          Maybe some udder reason...

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: "team pods"

      My take on "team Pods" is hipster-speak for offices and conference rooms :-)

  2. Brett Weaver

    Draconian?

    I have no problem with the requirement to get vaxxed or go home.

    Why describe a positive policy like that as draconian?

    1. mrjohn

      Re: Draconian?

      Ask Sergio Aguero.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Draconian?

      Ask Novaxx Djavkovid.

    3. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      Re: Draconian?

      Many people, for a variety of reasons (mostly reasons I think the majority of us in here dismiss as "nonsense") aren't prepared to have the vaccine. Outside of a few limited situations*, it's very unusual to insist on someone undergoing a medical procedure as a condition of employment. I think it's reasonable to describe "be injected with something you don't trust/don't want/pick some other reason or be sacked" as a bit draconian. After a covid vaccination, what next ? Very definitely a thin edge being hammered into that crack there.

      I'm fully jabbed, I think everyone who doesn't have a genuine medical reason against it should get fully jabbed, but I don't think compulsory jabbing is reasonable. Hopefully some of the hype will die down and the argument will be moot - until the next big wave of disinformation pops up (like we saw with the MMR vaccine a few years ago).

      * About the only common one is things like healthcare where frontline staff are expected to be vaccinated against certain common infections.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Draconian?

        What those who claim not to understand about people who don't want to be vaccinated is that they are speaking from ignorance and a complete lack of empathy.

        If they were in the same position for reasons that went against their beliefs (e.g. vaccines derived from embryos, animal products, or even human clones, or, say, "nanobots"), they would do everything in their power to resist mandatory vaccination.

        Watch Never Let Me Go for a fictional example of how society could develop if everyone obeyed the government's medical edicts because they "know best".

        1. ArrZarr
          Thumb Down

          Re: Draconian?

          Well it certainly helps when some beliefs are based upon ethics and other beliefs are based upon a magical sky god whose literature is written with the clarity and precision of a Nostradamus prophecy.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Draconian?

            Is that belief less or more valid than someone who believes they shouldn't be injected with an ID microchip?

            Or should we just hand over the decision making to the AI and it just becomes "computer says yes / no", in your opinion?

      2. Electronics'R'Us Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: Draconian?

        When I joined the Royal Navy in 1970 (yeah, I am old) vaccination against a myriad of things was required.

        In those long gone days, at age 14 one could get a test for TB (HEAF test as I recall) which identified if you had the necessary antibodies and if not get vaccinated, but this was not mandatory.

        On joining I (and a lot of other youngsters) had to get that specific test and vaccination among many others. After the first few days I felt like a pin cushion.

        I will note, though, that when joining the armed forces and in particular the Royal Navy, where conditions at the time and even now are relatively cramped, protection against communicable diseases is a reasonable policy and besides, it was specifically stated in the contract that those inoculations were required.

        The other quite reasonable rationale was that it was necessary to maintain the operational capability of the service.

        At my current employer, we are not required to be vaccinated and there are control measures in place on the various sites. Those not vaccinated have a slightly different set of control measures but not onerously so.

        I work from home a great deal of the time and go to the site only when there is a clear reason to do so.

        I am vaccinated (2 plus booster) after I did a risk assessment (there is always risk) which admittedly did not take long as at the time of my first vaccination many millions of people had already been through the procedure.

        I cannot support mandatory vaccination beyond where it is truly necessary even if I think that many who refuse it are being a bit silly. It protects me but it won't stop me spreading the virus so those not vaccinated* are putting themselves at risk rather than the other way around.

        *There are some legitimate medical reasons to not be vaccinated and that is recognised by the government and companies.

      3. Wim Ton
        Headmaster

        Re: Draconian?

        In the old days, a test for TB was mandatory for teaching job.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Draconian?

          In the 1970s, no one was forced to join the Royal Navy or become a teacher. It was a choice.

          Never forget, you always have a choice.

    4. RegGuy1 Silver badge

      Re: Draconian?

      Hmm. Thalidomide was originally sold as suitable for morning sickness. Opps! So I fully understand that if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant you would avoid any new drug. Hell, you're told to stop drinking.

      That's one group who I would say have a valid reason to avoid the jab. There may be more. To tell these, fuck you[1], you must have a jab or you lose you're job I'd say is definitely draconian.

      [1] Oh, you have been...

      1. Oh Matron!

        Re: Draconian?

        Office places require you to wear clothes to come into the office. To not swear like a sailor. To occasionally have showers. Why not a vaccine?

        1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: Draconian?

          It's not the same thing at all. Clothes are temporary external adornments with thousands of years of evidence of no ill-effect (though I did read a hypothesis years ago that syphilis went from being a common skin disease to a venereal disease because of clothing). Vaccines are internal and permanent (or at least long-lasting). Compulsory vaccination is a serious interference with the bodily integrity of people, and should only be enforced by governments. It is not for private business to insist on what goes into people's bodies.

          1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

            Re: Draconian?

            So you don't plan to go to exotic places where a vaccine is mandatory (e.g.: against yellow fever)?

      2. Wim Ton

        Re: Draconian?

        Not exactly. The consequences for the baby when you catch Covid during pregnancy are worse than the rare side effects of the vaccination. In Switzerland, pregnant women are advised to get vaccinate for that reason.

    5. Cederic Silver badge

      Re: Draconian?

      Because it achieves nothing. It doesn't stop infected people going into the office or catching nastiness from colleagues.

      Perhaps if you could explain the benefits I might understand why you think it's a positive policy.

  3. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Outdoor workspaces

    Covered outdoor working spaces will permit work in the fresh air for those hardy souls willing to brave the unpredictable British climate.

    Covered outdoor spaces are for wimps. Those hard working types that work at No. 10 are made of sterner stuff - they don't need covered outdoor spaces to partywork outside.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Outdoor workspaces

      The UK trying to mimic Mediterranean or Bay Area or Australian culture, with outside drinking/dining/working, in a Northern European climate has always been a giggle.

      1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Outdoor workspaces

        They are working on it.

        Did you hear of climate change?

      2. CrazyOldCatMan

        Re: Outdoor workspaces

        in a Northern European climate

        One considerably modified by the presence of the Gulf Stream (until it switches off due to vast amounts of fresh water being dumped into the ocean by the icecaps melting..).

        It means that, instead of central Scotland having weather equivalent to Russia (Moscow are to be precise) it has weather quite a few degrees warmer.

    2. Wim Ton

      Re: Outdoor workspaces

      In Switzerland, a place with a roof is considered "indoor" for the Covid policy. Walls are not required.

  4. Robert Grant Silver badge

    which paid £50.4m in taxes for the year ended 30 June 2020

    It would be good to know the total tax generated by Google in the UK:

    - corporation tax

    - income tax paid by employees

    - VAT paid directly or indirectly as part of a service

    - all of the above for firms Google use in the UK

    That would be the correct number to look at. Only reporting one of the ways Google generates tax seems a little disingenuous.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Accurate Headline

    "Google takes advantage of apocalyptic commercial property market and historic-low interest rates to swap epic central-London rent bill for modest debt servicing and stable asset"

    But that's a much less interesting story.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meanwhile, my company has recently got round to replacing the toilets, which were awful even 15 years ago. Back to normal for us once Plan B restrictions are ended, and we're all recalled to the office en masse - no special facilities to make office life more bearable.

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