I was lucky enough to find myself in the innovative Google offices on a recent trip to New York, and they are beyond amazing. Everything that I saw was so cool that I took a few pictures of the must-see public areas to share with you. I will share interesting factoids here and there, but otherwise this will be a visual tour. Google has created a workspace revolution with a creativity level that is off the charts. They own this entire building, so they can do whatever they want with the space, making it unlike any other work environment you will ever encounter.
If you saw the movie The Internship (above), don't you wonder if these sleep pods really exist? They do. Was that office real or a movie set... Actually, I can't answer that but I can give you a look into the New York office, which screams the same level of creativity. An eye-opening, jaw-dropping walk through the variety of environments will drive home the concept that creative environments ignite the brain... which might make you rethink your own work habits and spaces~
Google respects employee privacy. They ask visitors to as well, so you will only see what I am allowed to share.
Google employees are encouraged to work wherever they are comfortable. It is OK to leave the open plan workspaces to go be creative elsewhere. A variety of creative environments exist everywhere - in countless styles, themes, you name it. Like the above mid-century modern, which resides right next to a recreated train car. Creativity on steroids- the versatile public and private spaces embrace varied work styles.
This hallway is a library. Neuron building enrichment is everywhere.
Gigantic Lego area, in an open space on the way to other areas...and employee masterpieces on the shelves. Creativity is not just for kids - it is encouraged for all, at any time of day.
See that ladder up to the 5th floor? That's another interesting point- not all floors are connected by elevator in this building, wrap your head around that one. Design coolness. Google can do whatever they want, so they did. Love that.
Pac-Man machines line another hallway, free of charge, and it's ok to take a break. Can you imagine?!
The Google game room fosters the interactive group dynamic. Again, encouraged fun, any time of day. Teams can even meet over a game of pool if they like. Work hours are completely flexible...teams can even meet at 3am if they decide to. Google recognizes that different work habits are more productive for some than others. As long as the work gets done, hours and environment are whatever the team decides on. There is no dress code, literally, no rules. You don't see business attire or couture walking around this place. Employees are comfortable, relaxed and focussed. So, for all of you who feel guilty for sitting at the computer all day in your workout clothes or PJ's... don't.
Here is the other side of the game room, with massage chairs and a privacy screen for when the professional massage therapist is there. Relaxation is encouraged. An interesting observation: one might think that an entire building full of some of the smartest people in the world might make for a stress filled hustled environment. I couldn't help but notice how calm and relaxed employees seemed. The interior design concept clearly works. While we are here, look up at the pipes.
The Google ceilings are fascinating, naturally- serious pipelines...
Creative signs protect the large open-work areas from visitors. And by the way, work areas are also open to creative expression of the groups inhabiting them. There was a full open bar with various beers on tap at one of them.
Need privacy? These phone rooms with clever door transparencies are for employee use. Such a great idea to foster flexibility and variety at this level.
More doors to transport you into a creative place of your choice. As you know, I adore cool doors...
And creative conference room spaces.
Bring out the inner kid with provided transportation... around the building. Google obviously got the memo about how movement stimulates the brain.
OK, lets talk about the food. Above we see the guest chef board. There are multiple cafeterias (and I just automatically downgraded the food by my use of the word "cafeteria", perhaps I should say "food area"), cafes and snack bars, all free to the employees. Any kind of GOOD food you can imagine, they have it. The lunch I ate there was absolutely delicious. The quality of food is impressive - Google does not cut corners on food... if you see the offerings you'll understand why people spend so much time at work. Gourmet, healthy (or not), way better than you would find if you went out for lunch. Eat whatever you like, whenever, wherever... no need to pull out your wallet. I could've checked out the food for hours. It was beautiful- and delicious. Employees claim to unfortunately get totally used to the spoiling... hard to imagine. Side note: It was cool to see some of the employees sporting Google Glasses while they ate.
Oh! here is a cool design feature of ONE of the food areas. See the windows? See the wall space in-between? Well, if you stand right where Sam is standing, the buildings and sky that you see on the walls between the windows are precisely what you would see if there were no walls. Who THINKS of these things?!! My brain was firing at high-speed for days as I came off of the Google creative high. This place is amazing.
What can we learn from the Google Offices?
Google clearly knows what they are doing with these innovative work environments. As stunning as the New York office is, word has it that the Zürich office is THE coolest. It is fascinating to consider that these employees have some of the hardest to get jobs in the world. If THEY are maximizing their brain power through the variety of ways Google has conceived to shake up one's creative juices, imagine what the work output must be there. Humor, creativity, fun, movement, amenities, quality food, variety of environments, flexible hours... Perhaps the rest of us might consider incorporating such elements into our work place design and work habits.
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This article originally appeared on www.CourtneyPrice.com
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