When we met our friends William and his wife Stella for dinner one day, William who works at Google offered to give us a tour of the Google campus if we were interested. Of course we were interested! So we arranged a date and the twins and I got to visit and tour Googleplex – Google Headquarters in Mountain View, California.
Google campus is legendary here in the Bay Area, I had heard so much about their campus, and how it’s the coolest place to work. I heard about all the restaurants, cafes, and coffee bars on their campus, how their food was comparable to five star restaurants, how employees can eat for free whenever and whatever they want. They have juice bars, cookie carts, coffee carts, mobile massage parlors, mobile hair salons, dentist services; the list goes on and on. Basically Google provides their employees with every possible amenity they need, only thing missing would be on-site accommodations and employees would never have to leave Googleplex.
So I HAD to see all of this for myself. And what a great experience for the kids this would be, to see how the future of workplace could become here in Silicon Valley one day. I was looking forward to this visit.
We met William at one of the Google buildings in Mountain View at 11:30am. William had warned us there would be a lot of walking and to wear comfortable shoes. He had made reservations at one of the Indian restaurants on-site – a sit down restaurant with waiters who take your order and bring the food to your table. The menu is pre-set with an appetizer, main course, and dessert; with chai at the end. You get a choice of vegetarian meal or non-vegetarian, but we opted for the vegetarian. The food was delicious. After our lunch we headed out for our tour.
Honestly, I could go on and on about how amazing this campus is but words fail me. Let me just say we walked 4 miles that day, from one area to the next, each with a different theme (like an amusement park with different themes). The grassy areas in between the buildings were teaming with people working on their laptops and taking calls and using Google’s hangout to have meetings.
Art on the Lawn
We saw a multitude of kitchen veggie gardens on campus where employees can tend to these plants.
We saw so many restaurants and cafes that we lost count. Each one beautifully decorated with scrumptious food to match. The restaurants ranged from pizza parlor, to sushi place, to California cuisine, Italian cuisine, Chinese food, Vietnamese food, Indian food, and so many more. William explained that food is a big part of Google’s culture. That Google wanted to make sure their employees were fed well with good organic ingredients and wholesome meals. Google even provides take out containers so employees can take dinner home to their families when they leave campus – sweet!!
We saw a beautiful and well-equipped doctor’s clinic for employees to go to if they were ill. They have multiple gyms and offer 100s of exercise classes throughout the day, and encourage employees to take time off during the day to go and work out. So really there is no excuse to not get your daily dose of exercise. They even provide massage services for employees on site.
Remember I said we walked 4 miles? Well, Google does provide for their employees their signature rainbow colored bicycles so they can bike from one building to the next.
Google Bicycles Everywhere :
Each building has a theme on this campus with plenty of original artwork everywhere you look. The offices have a fun environment encouraging creativity and camaraderie. With more common areas like large family room style open spaces, and less cubicle space, it invites everyone to work in a more relaxed and communal fashion. William mentioned that there is an actual formula that the facilities department at Google follows where no building can have more office space than communal space.
And for those folks who want a quiet time to work individually or just take a little snooze, there are pods for that too 🙂
Themes on office floors and buildings range from cartoon characters, to Marvel comic characters, to Sci Fi, to cars themes, to wildlife themes, and anything else the artistic and interior design team at Google could come up with.
There are indoor bowling alleys, game rooms, video arcades, billiard rooms, outdoor swimming pool, and even a rock climbing wall room, in the Google campus; encouraging people to take a break from their workday and just play a little.
Google has a holistic view of work – that a healthy body is a healthy mind which leads to more creativity and happy employees, and that leads to a successful company. This philosophy is so evident at the Google campus in Mountain View. I could go on and on as to how amazing Googolplex is, but I will stop here.
William ends the tour by telling us that Facebook has one upped Google, and that Facebook is even more amazing when it comes to employee amenities – “What?” I said, “I find that hard to believe!”
For more information on Google and their workplace philosophy, check out these articles: