How does a culture develop in a company of over 50,000 people? And how does each office stand out from the rest? That’s all part of the Google “special sauce.”
The culture at Google develops organically, in response to thousands of daily inputs – so in a way, it is just as alive as the people who create it, which is appropriate given that the employees own the culture and are stewards of it. And the space is a reflection of that culture. Will Robinson, Principal Software Engineer in the Chicago office, calls it a positive feedback loop – the space reinforces the culture and the culture feeds energy into the space.
And the office? It is a reflection of its home: Chicago. From the EL “snaking through” the space, to rooms named after Chicago movies like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Google acts like a mirror to reflect the amazing qualities of the communities it joins. Throughout the space, the balance between work and play is obvious. Besides the open areas where teams use earmarked budgets to decorate their areas, from team signs to Android stuffed animals, there are spaces like the Speakeasy, the Garden Room, the hanging benches, and countless other nooks where a Googler can escape for some heads down time. And the microkitchens, located on almost every floor of the Google office, are huge spaces where employees come together, like at home, to eat, chat, and catch up. Come to think of it, the kitchens are “micro” only when compared to the full-floor café on the 9th floor of the office, where Googlers enjoy free food all day, from breakfast and lunch to snacks in between.
The Google space is a reflection of the culture on 2 levels – the colorful branding and zany touches like enormous bean bags highlight the irreverence and playfulness the company has held on to through its growth, and the resources available to employees, from massage chairs to healthy food, send the message that Google expects great things from its employees and is eager to invest in its space as a way of investing in its people.
Says Britton Picciolini, Sr. Agency Business Development Manager, “Google cares enough to make your space inviting – they’ve invested in you so you want to invest in them – it just makes you want to do better for the company.”