Google Sets The Standard For A Happy Work Environment


Google is the place to work according to Fortune magazine, which listed the top 50 companies to work for. Google appears as a top contender for most features, including unusual perks, cafeterias, health cover and work environment. Most of the other companies that made the top 50 only excel in one or two areas. This is the second year in a row that Google has managed to capture the number one position on Fortune’s company assessment.

Standard perks that Google offers include 100% health care coverage and onsite childcare facilities. In addition, new moms are entitled to 18 weeks of paid maternity leave while dads get 7 weeks. Some perks that aren’t quite standard include 17 cafeterias that offer free food to all employees.

The rule at Google is that no staff member should ever be further away than 100 feet from a source of food. That doesn’t mean that they only have access to vending machines with junk food, or that the cafeterias give out quick, easy and grease-laden meals. Chefs of the highest calibre prepare range of meals, with unique variations on everyday meals. Macaroni and cheese, for instance, comes with wild mushrooms and truffles.

They also have a keen interest in environmental conservation and have a department dedicated to researching “green” technologies. Google makes every effort to be as energy efficient as possible, which is a mind-set that is encouraged in their employees. In the spirit of energy conservation, they subsidise staff members who buy hybrid or electric cars to the tune of $1000. Employees based in California are entitled to special discounts if they install solar panels in their homes.

Google is also fairly unique in that they have a policy that allows ardent animal lovers to bring their cherished pets to work. The obvious proviso is that the various dogs, cats, and assorted others must be reasonably well behaved and house trained. It’s been reported in The Inquirer, UK, that the pet’s policy is under revision, after a pet python that was not very well behaved created chaos and terror in the New York branch.


Bingham McCutchen only made it to 41 on the list, but is the number one firm when it comes to high pay packages. The law firm is known for hiring promising law school graduates at a whopping $160, 000 a year. Their legal secretaries, whose importance is often overlooked by other firms, earn an average of $69,000 a year. This is higher than what some managers of other companies’ earn. The average salary for staff at Bingham McCutchen is a staggering $211, 017 per year.

The eBay San Jose campuses have special de-stressing areas for employees in need of some serenity and relaxation. Rooms with comfortable pillows and tatami floor mats are ideal for midday prayer and meditation, so that staff can return to their tasks refreshed and revitalised.

Camden Property Trust gives a 20% discount to employees who live in the company’s apartment complexes. Staff members going on holiday are also able to use fully furnished apartments for only $20 a night.

Nike is one of the most socially conscious businesses to work for, as those employed in the Portland office volunteer as Portland Mountain Rescuers. They respond to emergencies at a moment’s notice, no matter what they are doing or how important it is. When prospective employees are interviewed and warned about the possibility of having their work interrupted by mountain searches, the standard response is, “what’s more important, saving lives or selling shoes?”

The one thing that all of the businesses on the top 50 list have in common is that they all realise that a company is only as good as its employees, and so go out of their way to ensure staff happiness and contentment. Staff turnover is low, while job satisfaction is high. Who wouldn’t want to work for a company that rents an entire movie theatre for a day so that their staff can see a blockbuster movie on its release date?

Recommended site:

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/bestcompanies/2008/snapshots/1.html

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Sandy Cosser


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