Microsoft ditches plans for 500,000 sq ft London office

Microsoft ditches plans for 500,000 sq ft London office

Microsoft Windows

Microsoft has called off the search for a swanky 500,000 sq ft office in the heart of England’s capital amid a cost-cutting drive that has seen thousands of employees forced out.

According to React News, Microsoft’s office tenancy in Reading is coming to an end in 2026 so senior management were eyeing up other options.

However, given a trading climate where customers are delaying purchases and operating more cautiously, Microsoft appears to have put any plans on hold for now.

“We are committed to the UK and have facilities across the country. We regularly review our portfolio to make sure it meets the needs of our people and our long term business,” a spokesperson for Microsoft told The Reg.

Microsoft first moved into its Thames Valley Park HQ in the 1980s, located in England’s busy M4 corridor where numerous other tech business have bases. It renewed the lease in 2010, when around 2,000 worked at the site.

London is already peppered with Microsoft offices in Paddington, Victoria and an “Experience Centre” in Regent Street. It may have sought a location to cut down the number of sites it uses.

In January, Microsoft confirmed it was getting rid of 10,000 staff, or 5 percent of the workforce, by the end of its fiscal Q3, which closed at the end of last month.

In other efforts to reduce overheads, Microsoft said at the time it was also making “changes to our hardware portfolio, and lease consolidation to create a higher density across our workspaces.”

Microsoft enacted a hybrid work policy under which it expects half of the workforce to come into the office 50 percent of the time, though it offers flexibility around this. Certainly more flexibility than Amazon, which is recalling 300,000 corporate workers to come in three days a week.

Google is also going through some learning exercises, and is initiating a desk-sharing plan in its US cloud division to improve efficiencies as it exits real estate leases to reduce expenses.

Cloud growth is slowing and the business sentiments couldn’t be more different than at any point in the past three years. ®

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