I had the distinct pleasure of having lunch with a friend at Google’s London HQ in Victoria last week (thank you!).

I say that it was a pleasure because it was great to see her and we had a good old chat (obviously had nothing to do with my delicious lunch and the fairy cupcake that fuelled my ride home).

However, it was also a fascinating place to have lunch because Google’s offices are the poster-child for progressive, 21st century working environments:

  • Delicious free food for breakfast, lunch and supper
  • A massage room
  • Deck chairs for working sessions
  • Cool meeting rooms
  • Tuck shops on the corner of each floor
  • Informal dress-codes

Google is one of the most exciting and most influential companies in the world and works in some of the most revolutionary industries: the internet, online search and digital marketing. Google is changing how we search for and consume information, it is changing how we interact with each other and with our environment.

And yet… all most of us focus on is the free food!

Ultimately, however, the cool perks of working there are essentially distractions from the main thing that goes on at Google: office work.

Despite all the exciting things that Google is achieving; all the amazing innovations, and the great products, the work done by a lot of people at Google won’t be that dissimilar to the work done in many other office environments.

There will still be spreadsheets and screens, costs and revenues, clients and suppliers, budgets and targets…

So why do the small perks have such a big bearing on our impressions of what it’s like working at Google?

Perhaps because small details have a considerable influence on whether working somewhere is a positive or negative experience?

Google is proving that there is no set rule regarding what an office in the 21st century should look like.

Google is proving that you can be a large corporate behemoth and still allow people to have fun at work.

Google is proving that the more you allow people to be themselves, the more they will deliver high quality work.

How refreshing it must be to work in a large corporate company that seems to pay more than just lip service to the ‘our employees are our best asset’ cliché… I’m sure there are plenty of other big corporates around town that could and should take a leaf out of Google’s books…

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