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Google in Phoenix: Spoiling the employees

GoogleI’m not sure what to think about Google’s new digs in Tempe. I’ve read a couple of articles about the new offices and all that I can see is the amazing waste of money. Google is like a parent that gives their kids all of the candy and doesn’t know how to say no. They’re spoiling their employees.

Can you argue with success? Google is making tons of money and making some awesome products, but can you argue that they’re a good corporate citizen if they spoil their employees? When have benefits gone beyond reasonable?

Here’s a list of things Google employees received upon opening their new office in Tempe.

  • Google t-shirts
  • Coffee cups
  • Fans
  • Lamps
  • Chewing gum
  • Two masseuses
  • World Cup soccer games were projected by the teleconferencing system
  • Lunch: Lemon-garlic rotisserie chicken, spinach and fennel stuffed tomatoes with a side of barley pilaf
  • Huge computer screens (whatever that means)
  • Giant beanbags

I’ve also heard that Google provides catered lunches every day. For free (since they don’t have a caffeteria here like they do in CA).

Most anybody would love to work in conditions like this, however at what point does it become excessive?

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11 Comments

  1. Sure that list has some “odd” stuff (like a lamp)…but it’s actually fairly common (especially in larger companies) for new employees to get lots of company branded stuff. I don’t think Google is spoiling their employees at all…their creating a work environment that makes their employees LOVE working their. That’s every major corporations dream.

  2. Yeah, I guess my post was a little bit off in that most of those items cost $5 or less. But think about the free food they give out every day. That’s a little bit over the top in my book. But maybe it attracts talent.

  3. I think they’re not doing enough for their employess. What ever happened to good ‘ol fashioned fancy drinks with little umbrellas? I don’t see any of those on that list.

    And what exorbitant benefits program excludes a team of midget assistants for each employee? I mean c’mon, what about the little people?

    No company Ferrari? Oh, geeze! What kind of squaller are they expecting people to work in? I mean, with this type of oppression, there’s bound to be backlash on the part of the workers union.

  4. It becomes excessive when Google doesn’t feel threatened at which point it could care less about it’s employees. But so long as it can lose it’s brain power to compitetors, it’ll do all kinds of things to keep’em happy.

  5. Which is better? Some CEO earning 2 billion dollars at the expense of his employees, or the same CEO keeping only 1 billion while using the extra billion to pamper the people doing the actual work?

  6. This phenomenon of pampering programmers and developers really has me baffled. I guess you get to a point where throwing around money just isn’t enough? Personally I’d rather have some fat cash than catered lunches. I think this just leads to inflating the cost of developers for everyone else outside these big companies (perhaps unreasonably so.)

  7. I don’t think there’s any problem with spoiling your employess. They’re the ones keeping your company running, without them you would have nothing, so why not try to make them happy? Maybe people are just so used to being suppressed by corporate America they can’t fathom a company doing something in return for their employees.

    I agree with Thomas. It becomes excessive when a CEO gets paid a ridiculous amount of money when the real people who should be getting rewarded for the success are the employees.

  8. Just a side note, Google’s CEOs have been on the 1 dollar (just one) salary for a while. Instead, they get stock options.

    I would love to work for Google, and that’s the whole point. I remember seeing a group of Flickr pictures a while back about the different kinds of foods (and imported bottled water) he eats at the Google cafeteria. Instead, I chow down on a sandwich everyday. Not much of a decision there. Plus, they get free publicity, viral marketing style.

  9. How can it ever be excessive? Google just recognizes that the most productive programmers (and the ones that stay around longer) are the ones that love coming to work. It’s like cars: my old Toyota Camry didn’t need an ambient light sensor to turn on lights when it got dark, but I appreciated that little element of design every day. Toyota could have easily saved $5 (or whatever) and I wouldn’t have noticed it, but I did notice it when they did do it.

    Free lunches are just something that is unexpected and makes one feel like you’re working for the right company (assuming, of course, that the rest of the day follows the same lines). My work subsidizes lunches to the point that they’re $1/day and I love it.