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Google’s Work Culture Chilled By Layoffs

The New York Times recently published a piece delving into the impact of significant layoffs at Google. In 2023, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced the company would eliminate 12,000 jobs, about 6% of its workforce. The tech giant followed through with roughly 4% and has continued in 2024 with rolling layoffs. A Google spokesperson told the NYT that it is reducing layers of bureaucracy to focus on its principal priorities. In 2024, Google job cuts occurred in ad sales, YouTube, and the department working on the voice-operated assistant. Google is prioritizing investment in artificial intelligence.

The consequence of these layoffs is a more "glum" workplace. Workers used to consider Google a "fun, different kind of place to work." While they used to pride themselves on working late hours to create and fine-tune Google products, these employees now empty the building before 5:00 p.m. Some workers say Google has poorly communicated the cuts, so employees suddenly find the teams they relied on gone. Other employees allege the cuts disrupt their ability to complete complicated tasks. Before these layoffs, Google encouraged employees to be experimental with their work, encouraging the creation of new work. As layoffs continue, doing that type of work has become increasingly risky. Workers also warned that layoffs are making it more difficult to implement the changes needed to comply with the European Digital Markets Act, which goes into effect on March 6.

Google asserts it communicated changes to the employees, and the layoffs will not cause the company to miss important deadlines. According to the New York Times, Google's layoffs have been smaller than at other tech companies like Meta.