How important are free haircuts to your work life? What about free food? Or eyebrow shaping just steps away from your office?
Google, the king of corporate perks, is banking on these and other "way beyond basic" benefits to lure top tech talent to its Mountain View headquarters. The company has already succeeded in distinguishing itself from the competition: earlier this month, Google took the top spot on Fortune's list of the 100 best companies to work for.
The 26-acre campus, or Googleplex, offers pretty much every amenity that even the choosiest employee could ask for. As executive chairman Eric Schmidt wrote in an explanation of Google's benefits, "The goal is to strip away everything that gets in our employees' way [...] Let's face it: programmers want to program, they don't want to do their laundry. So we make it easy for them to do both."
Some might say that the only perk you really need at a job is a paycheck, but not to worry, Googlers get that too. In fact, they probably make much more than most people. According to Dice Holdings, the average tech employee in Silicon Valley makes over $100,000 per year. To put that in perspective, consider that, according to Reuters, half of Americans earned less than $27,000 in 2010.
Even Google isn't immune to the extravagance of many Google perks. During a 2009 press conference, co-founder Sergey Brin talked about benefit cutbacks that were designed to "reset the culture" and keep employees from feeling entitled.
According to All Things D, Brin said that Google's inauspicious garage beginnings "grew up into everybody's expectation: 'Oh, they should have all the gourmet food they want, at any time.'"
Although, according to Venture Beat, in 2008 Google did significantly raise the cost its once cheap employee childcare, the company continues to offer some unprecedented goodies to its lucky workforce. Click through our slideshow to see what Googlers get, then drop by Quora to see what Googlers enjoy best about working at Google.
I'm not sure if it's an actual perk not to have to leave the office when you're sick, but on-site doctors ensure that this is a reality at Google's Mountain View campus. According to Google's benefits site, physical therapy and chiropractic services are also available.
Is it really any wonder that Googlers have access to some of the most high-tech toilets around? These Japanese johns offer washing and drying of your nether regions as well as the mysterious "wand cleaning." Both the wash water and the seat itself can be warmed or cooled depending on your preference. Want to see what it's like to be a Google employee? On its website, manufacturer Toto lists restaurants around the country where you can have your own luxury toilet experience on one of their Washlets.
One perk about not working at Google is that Gawker never posts a photo of you swimming in one of the Googleplex's lap pools. The outdoor mini-pools are like water treadmills: a strong current allows the Googler to swim and swim and go nowhere. Luckily, according to How Stuff Works, lifeguards are always on duty in case someone gets in over their head. Google is big on water sports. In August, the company installed a temporary wave pool on campus to celebrate the Google+ team, reported Launch. See a picture of Google co-founder Sergey Brin riding the waves here.
According to PC Magazine, Google's Conference Bike is used as a team-building exercise for new employees. It has four wheels and five riders who work together to move it around.
Google's food program may not be the most creative perk at the company, but it is probably the most valuable to employees. Everyday, Googlers get three full meals and unlimited snacks from the campus' 25 cafeterias totally cost free. According to The Atlantic, the company makes an effort to keep the meals as healthy as possible by putting vegetables in every dish, using small plates and giving healthy items prime real estate in the cafeterias. Google has also developed a creative pricing system for vending machine food (the only edibles that cost money). The more sugar and fat contained in the snacks, the more they cost, which Google hopes will be enough incentive to keep its employees from gaining weight. Image via Flickr: Brett L.
Employees who don't have the time or inclination to get haircuts in the real world can get trimmed up at Google for free. According to Reuters, the service is provided by a company called Onsite Haircuts which operates out of mobile homes that travel around cutting the hair of Silicon Valley's tech army. Image via Flickr: Marcin Wichary
Google has two things in common with McDonald's: an inclination toward primary colors and a ball pit. The Google Chrome ball pit is as you might expect a ball pit filled with plastic balls in the yellow, red, blue and green of the Google designed browser, Chrome. Check out the video above to see employees having too much fun at work.