Written by Shelley Plett Tuesday, 23 December 2008 16:03
“Google’s culture is unlike any in corporate America, and it’s not because of the whimsical lava lamps and large rubber balls, or the fact that one of the company’s chefs used to cook for the Grateful Dead.” —Google corporate Web site
If you Google top search engines, you’ll Google itself, meaning you’ll hit on Google, which just re-emphasizes its No. 1 position.
I can’t technically explain that beyond saying most Internet users find stuff with Google.
They are the Kleenex of the new millennium. Nobody reaches for a box of tissues; they reach for a box of Kleenex. And nobody “searches” for recipes, jobs and old classmates, they “google” them.
CNN had a short report on Google Inc.—the company behind the slang—and one of its employees, who, in his spare time, is also a professional cyclist. You know, a typical employee with typical scheduling conflicts. The point of the story was to push Google’s online calendar and to show how the company is re-emphasizing wellness and fitness for its employees by completely revamping their multiple employee fitness facilities.
Its corporate Web site puts itself in a fairly decent light to potential employees. More like an angelic glowing light. Its list of benefits starts with basic medical and dental coverage and ends with on-site oil changes.
In between it gives new parents a $500 expense account for take-out meals during the first three months they’re at home with a new baby, back-up child care for babysitting conflicts, free shuttle service to surrounding cities, and free food from a gourmet chef—every day—lunch, dinner and snacks.
That last benefit has apparently led to what’s been reported as “the google 15,” the extra padding put on by rookies. I guess this proves that when free food is there for the taking day and night, it’s bound to get taken.
And it doesn’t only happen in the Top-10 worldwide corporations. It happens in any business where there is an empty tabletop and people who like to bake. And it’s physically impossible to avoid mindless snacking—don’t even try. It’s there, just humor these people and eat their food. You’ll work it off eventually. As soon as it warms up a little, when your schedule settles down some, or when the plates, bowls and platters are finally empty.
A corporate fitness program like Google’s is a luxury the other 95 percent of the working world will never experience. But I think a company fitness program at any level, even one 1 percent the size of the smallest biz out in the Silicon Valley, is a good idea.
A chart on a wall or a community food journal could be a powerful motivator. There’s nothing like coming to work every day to an office full of supportive, encouraging, fruit-bearing co-workers.
Or is it paranoid, sore, starving co-workers planning a covert powdered doughnut drop at 0900 hours in the back alley?
Either way, a shared goal—quite a motivator!