...that was my reaction the minute I stepped onto the Google campus in Mountain View, California. Never been anywhere like it. It was a revelation. My first association was to a preschool Montessori classroom where there are highly engaging and appealing play stations with the sole purpose of fostering innovation and creativity.
After the 1 hour ride from San Francisco, I needed to use the restroom. The first surprise was the heated toilet seat (not that they really need them given we were in a temperate climate zone). Then there was a panel on the wall of the toilet stall that I had only heard of from someone traveling in Japan...the rest is self explanatory.
On the stall wall was a flyer announcing the Employee of the Month. The chosen employee had organized a program to aid the tsunami victims of Japan. One of the many things Google encourages and promotes is an openness to innovative, socially conscious programs.
I was unable to take any photographs once I was inside the building. In fact, I had to sign an agreement of non disclosure before I entered the building as they are very protective of what they do. However, I can share with you that I had the most amazing, gourmet meal. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are provided with the job, as are workout rooms, yoga classes and bowling alleys. Need a hair cut? laundry or ironing? oil change? No problem. One can take care of all the daily necessities on campus. There are even sleeping pods available for the weary.
While driving back to San Francisco I started reflecting on how the Google executives have created a work environment in which the creative juices can flow...the everyday mundane needs are taken care of, allowing for total focus and commitment to innovation. The food served was not only nourishing but made with the utmost love and care. It was evident they invest in their employees, unlike anything I have ever seen. I was reminded a bit of what it was like to attend the Ragdale artist residency in which you are supported in such a manner that allows you to focus solely on the creative process.
For a "work" place, it was truly revolutionary and brilliant.