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Video game company Zynga leans into hybrid work model with smaller headquarters

Game developer's S.F. exodus points toward hybrid work future
Game developer's S.F. exodus points toward hybrid work future 02:37

SAN MATEO -- Bay Area-based video game developer Zynga recently relocated its headquarters out of San Francisco to a smaller building in San Mateo.

New Zynga headquarters in San Mateo
New Zynga headquarters in San Mateo. CBS

The new HQ is designed to accommodate a hybrid work model, according to Ken Stuart, Zynga's VP of Real Estate and Workplace Experience.

"During COVID as hard as it was, we recognized there were some good components to it," Stuart said. "Part of the hybrid work model is, how do you create an office space that can be typical in its nature. Meaning people have workstations, but really super flexible in order to support the new hybrid work model with people coming in for activities and collaboration specifically and less dedicated heads down work."

There are around 450 Zynga employees in the area. The office can support 225 employees at work stations on a day-to-day basis, said Stuart. But not everyone who comes into the building needs a work station.

"They all as individual teams manage the days they're in the office, and it's different for all of them," he explained. "What we have seen, it ebbs and flows. On some days we'll have 80-100 people in some of the different offices, and other days we'll have 10-20."

Stuart says embracing the hybrid work model is beneficial for the employees and the company as a whole.

"We feel like it helps people do their best work and helps them be happier and healthier – the work/life blend," he said. "It made business sense from the bottom-line perspective where we can reduce our footprint and still have an amazing space that supports this new strategy of working."

Zynga is just one of many Bay Area companies leaning into a hybrid work model.

"We've seen many announcements like these where companies are downsizing, they're rethinking their real estate footprint, rethinking their cost, rethinking their location," said Bay Area Council Economic Institute Executive Director Jeff Bellisario. "Roughly a third of the employers that we're surveying are already making changes to their real estate footprint. Some are still planning to do so going forward that haven't done that yet, as their leases expire."

The Bay Area Council has surveyed hundreds of employers throughout the region over the course of the pandemic to get a better understanding of their return-to-office plans.

"Between 50-60% of companies say they've already hit that new normal," he said.

Bellisario says n ew normal vary, but hybrid work appears to be appealing as more than just a temporary option for many employers.

"Just the idea of hybrid work, I think companies see the benefits of that in terms of potentially lowering their real estate costs. Employees obviously see the benefits of that," he said.

Stuart is eager to dive into Zynga's hybrid present and future.

"Now is really where the rubber meets the road, and we can get people in, and learn and grow," he said. "People are happier, they're more productive, and they put out better products at the end of the day, that's how it works."

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