Bloomberg’s £1 billion HQ in London won’t have canteen… to encourage employees to go outside

The vast new City headquarters of financial media giant Bloomberg will be a “no-cafeteria zone” in a radical move to encourage its thousands of workers to leave the building at lunchtime.

The company’s billionaire founder and chief executive Michael Bloomberg said he wanted to avoid the “Google syndrome” seen in some tech firm offices where the free meals and facilities are so luxurious that employees become addicted to their work life.

Mr Bloomberg, 75, told the Standard that the communal “pantry” area on the sixth floor of the £1 billion building will supply coffee and snacks such as porridge pots but not lunch “because I want people to get out and enjoy the local economy.

“We are going in the opposite direction to Google — we encourage people to go outside.”


Desks will configured in circular pods (Bloomberg)

This month, Google revealed details of its new London base in King’s Cross. Staff will be provided with free food and drink in cafes and can then take a nap in sleep pods or work it off in a gym or sports hall.

Mr Bloomberg said that “as a guest in your city” he did not want to suck business away from local traders such as sandwich bars and fitness clubs.

The first images of Bloomberg’s European headquarters, where the first of 4,000 workers will arrive in autumn, show open-plan floors with circular pods designed to foster collaboration. Floors are linked by a spiral ramp in a triple helix wide enough for three people to walk abreast.


Michael Bloomberg and his partner Diana Taylor (Getty Images)

The eight-storey building, with two more levels underground, was designed by “starchitect” Norman Foster in close collaboration with Mr Bloomberg, a philanthropist and former mayor of New York. It contrasts with glass skyscrapers such as the Cheesegrater that have provided much of the new office space in the Square Mile in recent years.

Lord Foster said: “There was an absolutely conscious attempt not to create another glass box. This is the biggest stone building project in the City for the past 100 years.”

The 1.1 million sq ft building in Queen Victoria Street near the Bank of England is divided into two triangular blocks, linked by a bridge.

The seven-year construction process uncovered one of the most valuable troves of Roman artefacts found on a City building site, including the biggest collection of Roman writing tablets unearthed in northern Europe.

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