DURHAM – Google sweetly welcomed employees into its new Google Cloud office in Durham for the first time on Tuesday – but with much less fanfare than the company hoped. Instead of champagne employees were treated to cookies.
Located at 200 Morris Street in the Innovation District, the doors opened without bells and whistles due to COVID-19 — and few workers chose to utilize the new space, according to a source within Google.
“We wanted to go big,” the Google source explained, noting champagne would have been on the menu. But the Omicron variant and COVID-19’s resurgence triggered a change in plans.
Instead, Google offered cookies decorated with a portion of the Durham skyline from the Sweets by Shayda bakery. And health – not taste – was a primary consideration before consumption.
“Each one was individually wrapped” as another COVID precaution, the Google source noted.
Employees also had to meet certain requirements before occupying a seat.
“As a condition of entry to work from our spaces in the US, we’re requiring both vaccinations (or an approved accommodation) and a recent negative COVID-19 viral test as close to coming onsite as possible,” the Google source said.
Google last year announced plans to build a new engineering hub with an eventual total of 1,000 employees. And the company has been hiring for several months with numerous positions listed as open.
“We can’t hire fast enough,” Google’s site lead told WRAL TechWire recently.
The search continues for a permanent office location, but the source had no details to provide about the search.
“Just a limited number of Googlers” utilized the office and most were Google Cloud employees, the Google source added.
Those showing up were workers who “absolutely needed” office space and resources instead of working remotely, according to the person who stipulated not being identified by name.