Today was a wonderful day of much needed rest. Our only agenda item was going to Google, and the rest of the day was up to our discretion; so, I opted to take a much-needed nap to catch up on sleep. I had really high hopes for Google. I have seen pictures and videos of what the U.S. office looks like, and it seems like the coolest place anyone could work. Additionally, Google is obviously a highly successful company, so I was interested to see how they operate from the business side of things. Going into our visit, I had high expectations for their office and the visit, that weren’t necessarily met.
Though their office space was cool and full of things to do, we did not get much of a look at how they operate their business. Most of what we saw were things like the in-house gym, the food stations, the balcony, etc., and these amenities were what we spent most of the time talking about. The tour seemed rather thrown together and made it hard to learn anything useful to us at business students. The visit to Google did not compare to Microsoft—Microsoft had a presentation for us about their company, their workplace culture, and allowed us to ask questions about how they operate as a business. I felt as though the visit to Google was more of a tour of the facility and less of a “site visit”.
With that being said, I did find it interesting to learn about Google’s 20% program as well as some of their other programs designed to allow employees to continue learning new things, outside of their role at Google. They explained to us that if you have been working at Google for some time, and are performing well, employees are allowed to spend 20% of their time on a project that they are interested in. From how they described it, Google has adapted the mindset of lifelong learning and want to see their employees do so as well. They have several initiatives to allow their employees to educate themselves on other topics, volunteer outside of Google, and overall do things to put their employees first. I think this business model works well, as it allows employees to expand their horizons and avoid getting into monotonous routines with their work, which likely boosts overall morale. Though these different programs and office amenities sounded great, I was a bit confused how they get any actual work done. It seemed as though they spend more time doing things outside of their actual job than actually working, but that assumption also could have come from how the tour was given to us. They must be doing something right though, as Google is obviously one of the most successful companies in the world. As a whole, it was interesting to see their office space and all the different things available to employees, however I would have liked to get a better look at how they do business.