In my last post, I described how my sense of humor led me on to get an opportunity to visit the prestigious office of Google APac Headquarters. What? I didn’t mention my sense of humor anywhere? Well, a healthy sense of humor can help one form quick friendships. Tonny and I got along well because of the exchange of few hilarious comments on the German homework the other night and there we were going together towards the office the next morning. So, discussing the reasons and describing to each other our own definitions of the dream that it is to work at Google, we reached its office.
We reached the first floor (USA read: second floor) and were told by the receptionist to first get our name tags printed from the machine near the entrance. The feeling of mere having my name written along-side the logo seemed really satisfying for some reason. We asked for Mr. Mike Mason (fake name for I don’t want him to get flocked with emails when you people come to visit Singapore), the employee who got us permission for the tour. Mike used to work in Australia a year ago and Tonny happened to have met him a couple of years ago. He introduced himself to the rest of us and welcomed us to “one of the coolest offices in Singapore.”
The first surprise to the eye was the gymnasium. Can you believe it? A well-equipped gym in the workplace open to all the employees at any point of time during the day? I know you just uttered “cool” but save it for later. After the gym, we reached the first floor’s micro-kitchen. There were fresh fruits and crave-worthy snacks which are totally free of cost for the Googlers (Mike was kind enough to ask us not to feel shy and pick whatever we wanted). There was a whole refrigerator full of drinks. The lower half portion of the fridge’s glass-door was made translucent so that the diet unfriendly drinks were not directly visible to the health conscious employees. Seriously, Google is caring employer goals! Mike told us that similar micro-kitchens are there on every floor. I already knew those pantries were hands-down going to be my favorite places in the office.
Looking at the various corners of the office, we got to know the there is a lot of flexibility both in terms of the work hours as well as the work-spaces. All the sister products under Google have their own designated sections. For example, Google Cloud has its own separate space and YouTube has its own; however, it is not mandatory for any of the workers to stay on their assigned desks or cubicles and there are comfortable couches and cool chairs kept at different spots for the workers to work with an open mind as it suits them with no restrictions. The whole office is in fact so colorful that it promotes innovative ideas and creative thinking which is the characteristic of a Google employee.
The specialty about this office is that unlike most metropolitan offices, the floors are not stacked over each other but are designed to make the office seem spacious and not just a generic building. For any confidential or important meetings, there are specially built Meeting Rooms. There are also Learning Rooms, Brainstorming Rooms with slide-able white boards hanging from the ceiling all around and rooms which are specifically assigned for worship. Apart from all of the awesome spaces that I just mentioned, what completely stole my heart was the Nap Room. Now is your time to jump all around and shout, “How cool is it!” The employers are even allowed to take appointments for a massage in the office’s very own Massage Rooms during the office hours as and when they require. All of this is still believable but a hair salon? Inside an office? It is truly amazing to me.
Browsing through the floors, we finally reached the main Shiok cafeteria where a different menu of breakfast and lunch is served everyday. There are various options to choose from like Indian, Western, salad et cetera.
There is also a game room with a Foosball table, a Pool table and a Table-Tennis table as well and again, there are absolutely no time-limits. On top of that, the walls of the room are made sound-proof so the employees do not have to worry about not making too much noise while they enjoy their hearts out taking a break from work. On the roof, there’s a small slide by sliding on which all the new recruits and the interns begin their journey with Google. At the end of the tour, the head of the University Programs at Google, Claire (again a fake name for the same reason), personally attended us and had a question-answer session with us in one of the conference rooms which was very generous on her part. Claire mentioned to us that they receive numerous email requests for getting permission for an office tour but almost all of them get rejected which made us realize how fortunate we were that Tonny knew Mike and he personally got permission for us. Getting the best possible answers to our curious questions, we shook hands and thanked both Claire and Mike for giving us the opportunity to visit the place where all of us dream of working someday. Clicking a few mandatory pictures with the Google logo near the entrance, we came out of the office with a whole new motivation to work even harder and become worthy being employed by the one and only very soon.
Throughout the way back, I kept on pondering how the office made me fall in love with the idea of working at Google all over again. I mean think about it! It’s hard to get a job at Google but now that we know about how awesome it is once you get in, isn’t it totally worth it? As soon as I returned to the campus and posted the pictures on Instagram, I started receiving texts from many of my Singaporean friends, even from the final year students, all asking the same question, “Dude, How Did You Get in Google’s Office?”