Last week, myself and Marketing Manager Keith White were lucky enough to visit Google’s London headquarters for the ‘ixdisplay’ day they were holding. And aside from a day of learning from talks hosted by companies such as Hearst and Reed, what really hit us were Google’s offices and the working environment they have created.
You wouldn’t come to expect anything less from the company that have slides installed for their employees in their LA offices – and it’s safe to say that their relatively new London offices (they were opened towards the tail end of last year) do not disappoint. With differing themes running throughout the office, chill out zones where you can still work, a state of the art conference room (where most of our day took place) and multiple terraces that look over the whole London, it begs the question: what can you do in your own office to emulate the Google office ethos?
Of course most of us don’t have the location or office space to completely replicate everything Google are doing but there are definitely some aspects of their working environment that any business can borrow from, so let’s take a look at what me and Keith learnt…
The main air about Google’s offices is that they are relaxed and no where will you find a stuffy, corporate environment. The prerogative here seems to be that its 2014, and it’s time to start treating employees like adults that can manage their workflow freely rather than children that are hemmed in with what they’re doing.
At one point we stumbled upon a room with ‘Google Green’ lit up above the door, everything was plush green and there was an employee relaxing on a bean bag (green of course) but at the same time, getting on with their work. Google is one of the most successful companies in the world, so you know that their employees are actually doing their work – but they’re being allowed to do it in a relaxed environment that puts trust in their skillset and ability to work!
Your office is the biggest and most important member of staff you have, so it shouldn’t be seen as just a room you work in but instead something that should have personality and say what your company really is to the core. Google are of course a young, fun (just think of their Google doodles) and modern business – so their office suits this with the aforementioned themed green room, the fact that there are photo booths in the general work space and all the door handles resemble the circular turn locks you would find on a ship.
It’s these touches that make employees realise they’re not just working in any bare office, but at Google’s offices – and it might not have to be extreme but there are many things you could do to add the same to your office – be it with artwork or something like the following…
Along with the decoration, Google also adds some extra little bursts of fun and class to their offices, with the aforementioned slides over in LA, or in the London office, the kind of photo booths you would usually find at an event, just sat there constantly in the office – in addition to the luxury of multiple roof terraces overlooking London that add a huge draw for anyone looking to work at Google.
Now as I said earlier, roof terraces overlooking London probably aren’t much of a possibility for most businesses, but it doesn’t take much to add something exciting to your office, be it a staff room with table tennis, an Xbox or an inner-office addition that’ll get people talking!
All of the above is all well and good but it’s worth nothing if you don’t cover the fundamentals – and that means keeping it clean. Google is immaculate through and through – from the toilets to reception and through every desk in between. This doesn’t take much but it’s worth a whole lot, so don’t get lost in a world of adding quirks and eye-catching decoration to your office, while forgetting about the necessity of cleanliness. It counts for a lot!
Not exactly a tangible addition to your office like decoration or that really sweet photo booth, and only achievable with certain lines of work, but days like Google’s iXDisplay day definitely add something extra to the office, bringing in a certain buzz with them and of course the opportunity to network – boosting your contacts in the process. If you’re a business of a certain stature or have something to say about your industry, why not set up a day of talks?
And this is where we come back to our day at their offices and after dissecting what was great about them, it is also worth mentioning that the day was a well-run event – and being events professionals this was a major plus for us. Everything was kept to time, the food was great and for us there was the added extra of being interviewed about the day and our business for a video that’ll be up for all to see soon. Here it is taking place!
So there you have it, Google isn’t just a search engine, but a great blueprint to base your office environment off of. Learn from the best and apply it to your business – because by achieving a happy working environment, you in turn achieve a more productive and loyal work-base.