• Ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt believes office space will be in greater demand after the coronavirus pandemic subsides.
  • During an appearance on “Face the Nation” Sunday, the 65-year-old said he thinks the desire for social distancing within offices will place a premium on office space.
  • Schmidt, who led Google between 2001 and 2011, thinks the “incredibly concentrated” nature of global megacities will change as employees within the same firms work in different locations.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt believes office space will be in greater demand after the coronavirus pandemic subsides.

Schmidt’s remarks appear to contradict an increasingly held belief that offices might be on the decline as office workers learn to work effectively from home.

During an appearance on “Face the Nation” Sunday, the 65-year-old said he thinks the desire for social distancing within offices will place a premium on office space.

“My guess is we’ll have more demand for office space, not less, because people will want social distancing,” Schmidt said.

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“We’re going to have to think about hub-and-spoke systems where local people don’t travel so far because they don’t want to be in public transit for so long. So we’re gonna have to really rethink how businesses operate. They need their employees back.”

Schmidt, who led Google between 2001 and 2011, thinks the dense, shoulder-to-shoulder nature of global megacities will change as employees within the same firms work in different locations.

“If you think of it as an employer, you have a bunch of employees, some of whom are dying to get back to the office, and some people who are afraid that if they go to the office, they will die,” he explained.

“They’re very concerned about [whether] they’re immunocompromised or what have you. So they’re going to have to come up with flexible arrangements. So imagine that there are three or four people. One will go to the office. One will stay home. Some will go to some local or town working environment. It will change the pattern.

“We’ve had this situation where people move to super cities in these incredibly concentrated ways. That will change in the next few years. You don’t need to be in the super city in order to participate in the ex- excitement of these super cities.” 

CNET reported Saturday that Schmidt, who continued as an advisor to Google from 2011, has stepped down from that advisory position in February. The former exec remains one of the wealthiest people in the world, with a net worth of $15.5 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

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