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How do you keep employees happy? Ask Google.

June 22, 2010

 

We’ve all heard of Google’s impressive benefits and employee perks. But the question remains – do these perks really work? Is employee happiness really so profitable that companies should change their benefit structure?

Consider this all too common scenario. It’s Tuesday morning and you are starting your work day. Your cold and stale morning coffee doesn’t seem to have a taste to it anymore as you bought it on your way to work 3 hours ago. You’d love a second cup but can’t seem to get away from your desk since the big meeting is scheduled for next Monday and you haven’t started on your presentation. You’ve got a great idea but are certain your new idea will be trashed. You feel irritated as the overtime you pulled off last night forced you to miss your morning workout.

As depressing as this might sound, for many, this may not be far away from the truth. Many employees these days find themselves overworked and stressed out. This affects their productivity and motivation. Fortunately, there is an example out there to follow: Google.

Apparently, the average Google employee’s morning goes something like this: You’ve finished your daily workout in 8 minutes, your personal best. Although you finished early, you won’t need the extra time to get to your desk as your office is very close by. Elated, you skip your way to the change room and quickly have a refreshing shower. Feeling refreshed, you head over to a cafe that serves the best breakfast you’ve ever tasted. Feeling energized, you head out of the cafe and towards the stairs. Heading towards the stairs, you find your friend and co-worker, Eric, who asks if Cindy, the department head, approved your new personal project. You happily affirm. As you are both feeling healthy today, you skip the elevator ride up and take the stairs instead. A few seconds later, you arrive at your destination, barely breaking a sweat. You walk to your desk greeting everyone you meet. On your way to your desk, you already have thought of a great new idea for your next creation, which you know will be well received within the Google culture.

As heavenly as this scenario may sound, it is far from make-believe. Google maximizes employee happiness by providing a wide variety of gym and exercise courses, offering free on-site cafes, and being open to personal project ideas. It is all too clear that Google’s success is related to the environment of innovation it fosters for its employees. Companies that do not have these structures in place should consider implementing them so that may also emulate Google’s success.

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