Google’s (Work-life) Balancing Act

Since our Plus3 Ireland group had some free time this morning (May 16th), several of us used it as an opportunity to visit Dublinia. To briefly summarize, Dublinia is a museum near our apartments dedicated to the history of Vikings and medieval times. 

 In the afternoon, we embarked on a site visit at Google’s European headquarters here in Dublin, Ireland, where Ailbhe and Arthur gave us an informative tour of their main buildings. From the tour, it is evident that Google truly cares about the health and well-being of its employees, as there are lots of free benefits/perks that can be taken advantage of and without penalty. For example, there often are spacious gyms, game rooms, sleeping pods, and high-quality cafeterias in each of the buildings on Google’s campus. 

Like Microsoft, Google puts an emphasis on maintaining proper work-life balances and has worked this into their company culture, as there is nothing worse than overworking employees and/or burning them out—it is not conducive to (business) productivity. I think that it is interesting that this is a common theme, as creating a healthy work-life balance is not something you learn from taking classes at a college or university. Rather, it is a skill acquired from managing the time and effort spent between classwork and other activities (or in the case of Microsoft and Google, between work-related tasks and other activities). 

Is there a catch for all these amazing things that Google does for its people? In my opinion, there is only one…and it is to continue to learn and grow. For sure, staying up to date is key to being at the forefront of technology innovation, and Google encourages that by paying employees to take classes in whatever interests them (I.e., pottery). Additionally, Google has what’s called the “20% rule” where employees can take 1/5 of their workweek and spend it on whatever they feel passionate about. 

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The interesting tidbit of the day (8/?) is that one of Google’s buildings has a staircase that displays (live) all the trending searches. 

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