Google spending cuts include no more laptops, only Chromebooks, and fewer services

Google spending cuts include no more laptops, only Chromebooks, and fewer services

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Having laid off thousands of its employees in January, Google LLC is looking to rein in its expenses elsewhere, with a number of cost-cutting measures being implemented across the company. The measures include reductions in spending on equipment, supplies and some employee services.

The report comes from CNBC, which said today that Google has informed its staff of the cost-cutting moves through a number of internal memos. One recent note sent to a San Francisco office reportedly stated: “We have been asked to pull all tape/dispensers throughout the building. If you need a stapler or tape, the receptionist desk has them to borrow.”

In a company-wide email from Google’s finance chief Ruth Porat, employees were also told that those who require a new laptop and are not working on engineering duties would now only receive a Chromebook. Previously, Google offered workers a range of laptops, including new Apple MacBooks. Chromebooks are laptops made by Google that use a Google-based operating system called Chrome OS. Generally, they are a lot more affordable than Windows laptops.

While saving money is obviously one of the goals of such a move, Google also framed it as a way of boosting internal security. “It also provides the best opportunity across all of our managed devices to prevent external compromise,” one company-wide memo said of the laptop changes.

In addition, Google is said to be pausing refreshes for laptops, desktop PCs and monitors at its offices. It’s also looking at “changing how often equipment is replaced,” another memo stated.

Google employees will also no longer be able to expense the cost of a new smartphone to the company, if it offers them another phone to use internally. Moreover, employees who require an accessory that costs over $1,000 are now required to get prior approval from their superiors, and will only be permitted to do so if one is not available internally.

There are cuts being implemented to employee services such as food, transportation, fitness classes and massages, CNBC reported. In her email, Porat explained that many Google workers only come into the office three days a week, so there’s less need for such services. Because of this, Google may also close some of its company cafes on Mondays and Fridays.

“Now that most of us are in 3 days a week, we’ve noticed our supply/demand ratios are a bit out of sync: We’ve baked too many muffins on a Monday, seen GBuses run with just one passenger, and offered yoga classes on a Friday afternoon when folks are more likely to be working from home,” the document stated.

Google’s latest cost-cutting measures come in the wake of the most severe round of job cuts ever announced by the company. In January, it said it would be eliminating 12,000 jobs, or around 6% of its total workforce. At the time, Google explained the cuts were necessary to cope with slowing sales growth, coming after the company had rapidly expanded its staff headcount during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As we’ve publicly stated, we have a company goal to make durable savings through improved velocity and efficiency,” a spokesperson for Google said. “As part of this, we’re making some practical changes to help us remain responsible stewards of our resources while continuing to offer industry-leading perks, benefits and amenities.”

Photo: Eric Langhorst/Flickr

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