Imagine a work environment designed to make life as pleasant and productive as possible. Maybe workers could bring their dogs to the office, ride bikes to meetings or even spend a portion of their paid time working on side projects of their choice. For the several thousand employees of Google who work at the Googleplex in Mountain View, this is not a dream but a reality.
The Googleplex is not a collection of office buildings stuffed with drowsy day workers but a place infused with bright, enthusiastic people who make things happen at lightning speed.
“Google’s headquarters is this amazing combination of a corporate campus and a university playground,” said senior writer of Fortune Adam Lashinksy. “Google employees are coddled in almost every way imaginable. There’s a lap pool, there are pool tables, there are many kitchens throughout the complex so that you can get a bite to eat whenever you want to. There’s a dry cleaning facility, there’s a laundry facility.”
According to the video “An Inside Look at Google,” there is a phenomenon called the “Google 15.” It can be compared to the “freshman 15” because just like the common perception about college freshmen, new Googlers — called nooglers — often gain 15 pounds from all the free food available at the many Google cafés and micro kitchens. The main café, Charlie’s Place, is named after the company’s first chef, Charlie Ayers, who fed the Grateful Dead before giving Google a taste of gourmet. According to the video “Inside the Googleplex,” the on-site organic garden actually supplies some of the café produce.
“With more than 25 cafés you really get anything you want,” a Google spokesperson said. “We focus on healthy food here, and all of the foods in the cafés are labeled with red, yellow or green to specify varying levels of health.”
While the Googleplex allows employees to feed their appetite, it provides facilities and programs for their physical health as well. In addition to the two pools, there are hot tubs, gyms, exercise classes and even an on-site masseuse and doctor. According to the same spokesperson, one of the more underrated facilities is the new dance studio.
“This dance studio offers dance classes for employees and one of my favorite classes is How to Dance At a Club – An Analytical Approach to Dancing,” the spokesperson said. “It offers a way for people who work with mechanics and data all day to break down dancing, music and rhythm mathematically. Moves are displayed on PowerPoint slides, and in the last class employees actually go to a club.”
On top of all of these perks, Google offers employees hundreds of internal groups and clubs that encourage diversity within the workplace. Gayglers is an intracompany club that supports gay, lesbian and transgender employees. Another group, Google Women Engineers Network, brings women together to promote engineering education for other females.
“Everything here is designed to foster as much collaboration and innovation as possible,” the spokesman said. “The point of the classes, groups and dining halls is to have employees come together, eat together, learn from each other and mix ideas. We believe this is the key to innovation.”
Even the building design and interior décor brings workers together. According to an article on howstuffworks.com, the Googleplex is lit up by high ceilings and transparent glass walls that let in natural light. Working areas are also set up for three to four people to avoid the clustered, cut off cubical effect typical of traditional offices. Lava lamps, pianos and large screens that display terms being googled all around the world decorate building lobbies.
“It’s not your standard corporate America,” Google Lead Advanced Technician Sean Johnson said. “People don’t wear suits, its casual, and people are accepting and usually pretty friendly, I think because of the benefits we get.”
While Google’s mission is to organize information and make it universally accessible, they maintain a small company feel and have fun doing it. According to the same Google spokesperson, the company is always in search of a range of smart people from fresh college graduates to experienced engineers. As of now, the company is aggressively hiring and in search of the next nooglers.