Meta, Microsoft Frees Up US Offices Over WFH, Mass Layoffs: Report

Meta and Microsoft have embraced remote working. (Representative)


Facebook’s parent company Meta and Microsoft are separately moving out of office buildings in Seattle and Washington’s Bellevue — in the latest sign of change in the tech sector and a slowing office market here — according to the Seattle Times.

Facebook on Friday confirmed plans to sublet its offices in the six-story Arbor Block 333 in downtown Seattle and the 11-story Spring District Block 6 in Bellevue, the Seattle Times reported.

The Menlo Park, Calif.-based social media giant said it is also reviewing leases for other Seattle-area office buildings. A weak market is a phase of the economic cycle characterized by more sellers than buyers and low prices.

The Seattle Times reported the same day that Redmond-based Microsoft confirmed it would not renew its lease at the 26-story City Center Plaza in Bellevue when that lease ends in June 2024.

The Seattle Times said the announcements come as the continued popularity of remote working and a technology downturn with mass layoffs have both reduced demand for office space in Seattle and elsewhere.

Meta and Microsoft have embraced remote working while downsizing as the tech sector falters, according to the daily. In November, Meta announced the layoffs of 726 Seattle-area workers.

Meta spokeswoman Tracy Clayton told the Seattle Times that the hiring decisions were primarily driven by the company’s move toward remote or “distributed” work. But he acknowledged that, “given the economic climate”, Meta was also “trying to be … financially prudent”.

Meta currently occupies all of Arbor Block 333 in Seattle and would have occupied all of Block 6, which is slated to open later this year. The company still has offices in 29 buildings and nearly 8,000 workers in the Seattle area, which remains the company’s second largest engineering center outside of its Menlo Park headquarters, Clayton said.

A Microsoft spokesperson described its decision on City Center Plaza as part of an ongoing evaluation of the “company’s real estate portfolio to ensure we provide an exceptional place to work and create greater collaboration and community.” for our employees”.

The City Center Plaza decision also comes amid a massive remodeling of Microsoft’s Redmond campus, part of which will be completed by the end of 2023. But the daily said Friday’s news adds to an already gloomy forecast for the Seattle-area office market as it battles economic headwinds and the slow return of remote workers.

That struggle is most visible in downtown Seattle, where the total office vacancy rate now stands at 25%, according to a new report from commercial real estate agency Colliers.

The Seattle Times said even non-vacant offices are often half empty, due to remote working. As of last summer, downtown Seattle has had only about 40% of pre-pandemic workers present, according to cellphone location data released by the Downtown Seattle Association.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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