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Secrets Behind the World’s Greatest Minds: 15 Cool Designs of Google Offices Around The World

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Secrets Behind the World’s Greatest Minds: 15 Cool Designs of Google Offices Around The World

Office design is critically important to creativity and collaboration. Mobile technology and flexible scheduling means the traditional model of one desk and one chair in one office is obsolete, and Google has long recognized that. But their work environment goes beyond the basic ergonomic chairs most of us would think are a nice benefit to a design aesthetic that inspires.

According to Google, “Here’s the secret sauce to our benefits and perks: It’s all about removing barriers so Googlers can focus on the things they love, both inside and outside of work. We are constantly searching for unique ways to improve the health and happiness of our Googlers. And it doesn’t stop there–our hope is that, ultimately, you become a better person by working here.”

As you can see, these design elements not only have a visual “wow” factor, they also build morale, improve employee health and wellness, and inspire the employees to achieve.

Secret #1: Embrace the Local Personality

Google PGH office

    Google doesn’t make the mistake of simply copying their California offices in other cities. Instead, they adapt local materials, styles and identities into each new location. For example, a Google’s office in Pittsburgh, PA features a nod to the Steel City’s history by including a massive photo of a bridge mid-construction. I wonder which of the famous three rivers this bridge spans?

    Secret #2: Hedge Your Bets in London

    Google London

      Fresh air is a fantastic natural stimulant and a dedicated outdoor space for employees is a boost to morale. Of course Google wouldn’t be satisfied with the typical picnic table behind the parking lot that most employers offer. Instead, they’ve created a secret garden with private and public seating on the roof of their London HQ.

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      Secret #3: Padded Cell Meeting Room

      Google meeting room

        Do you shy away from conflict at work? Maybe you wouldn’t if you could meet colleagues in a padded room, like this one in the 160,000 square foot Google London HQ.

        Secret #4: Remember Your Roots

        Google book nook

          Google’s founding in a garage was the inspiration for the company’s Amsterdam offices, designed by D/DOCK. The garage-chick look is carried throughout the offices, including this conference room.

          Secret #5: Book Nook

          book room

            Google’s London HQ uses fun and quirky names to describe each of their rooms, including the LaLa Library. Employees can continue to learn and develop professionally while lounging on this couch with a good book. You can thank interior designers PENSON for the beautiful look of the London offices.

            Secret #6: Meeting Room Magic

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            Google meeting room2

              In Madrid, Jump Studios designed a large conference room that meets the technical needs of a global business but also had a little fun with binary code on one wall. The missing code reveals the word “Madrid” on the wall to add a little hometown pride.

              Secret #7: Hammock Hang Out

              Google hammock

                Some workers can’t be creative in a faux leather chair at a particleboard desk. But in a hammock the ideas flow. Google’s office space in Pittsburgh, designed by local firm Strada, gives new life to the phrase “Google Hangout.”

                Secret #8: Work up a Sweat

                Google gym

                  If you expect your employees to put in extra hours, they need a way to burn off energy and clear their minds. And given the rising cost of health care, it also makes financial sense to invest in employee wellness. Google provides exercise areas, ergonomic workspaces and even exercise balls in meeting rooms. Here is a shot of the fitness center in Google’s Tel Aviv headquarters which houses treadmills, stationary bikes, elliptical machines, and more, all with a beautiful view of Tel Aviv.

                  Secret #9: Smirk While You Work

                  Google camper

                    Some of us can only close the door to our boring square office when we want to be alone. This phone or reading booth in Amsterdam, designed to look like a mobile home, would be a much better place to seek out privacy. Unlike traditional offices that stick to a professional (some might say stuffy) aesthetic, Google isn’t afraid to have a laugh in their design choices.

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                    Secret #10: Move Beyond the Water Cooler

                    google water cooler

                      Google is famous for offering its employees food perks. They also offer mini-kitchens and break rooms that are perfect for a tete-a-tete over coffee and put the traditional water cooler to shame. This pantry space at Google-owned YouTube headquarters in Tokyo is a break space most employees would die for.

                      Secret #11: Always Branding

                      Google brand

                        If you haven’t noticed from the pictures already, the Google brand is ever-present in the company’s design choices. From repeating the company name to using the blue, red, yellow and green that appear in the logo, each office is branded perfectly. When Google opened their offices in D.C.,

                        Susan Molinari, the vice president of public policy said, “We want to allow people who come in here to get themselves to a place that the message of innovation is problem solving, and it’s told in so many different ways.”

                        How does your current workspace reflect your brand?

                        Secret #12: Let There Be Light

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                        Google lights

                          As you’ve seen, there’s plenty of natural light in Google workspaces. But when there isn’t, or when nightfall comes, the designers don’t rely on the tired fluorescent lighting that comes standard in most offices. Check out these flower shaped floor lamps that complement the use of outdoor themed wall art and natural fabrics. Whether the lights are turned on or off, they contribute to the beauty of the room.

                          Secret #13: Cheers!

                          Google pub

                            You probably could have guessed that this pub is a feature of the Google offices in Dublin. Designed by Camenzind Evolution, the Dublin HQ spans four buildings for a total of over 500,000 square feet, all of which are meant to mirror the bustling city it calls home.

                            Secret #14: Relax

                            Google bath

                              For most of us, work is the opposite of relaxing. We might even spend our weekends trying to decompress with exercise, salon visits and pedicures. But at Google’s office in Zurich, these relaxation rooms contain massage chairs and even relaxation bathtubs filled with foam.

                              Secret #15: Not Your High School Cafeteria

                              Google cafeteria

                                The food is so good (and free) at Google that some jokingly refer to the “Google fifteen,” referencing the fifteen pounds employees are sure to gain once being surrounded by munchies and meals. But look beyond to the food to recognize that this gives employees yet another way to come together, collaborate, and communicate.

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                                Kayla Matthews

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                                Last Updated on October 7, 2021

                                Are You Addicted to Productivity?

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                                Are You Addicted to Productivity?

                                “It’s great to be productive. It really is. But sometimes, we chase productivity so much that it makes us, well, unproductive. It’s easy to read a lot about how to be more productive, but don’t forget that you have to make that time up.”

                                Matt Cutts wrote that back in 2013,[1]

                                “Today, search for ‘productivity’ and Google will come back with about 663,000,000 results. If you decide to go down this rabbit hole, you’ll be bombarded by a seemingly endless amount of content. I’m talking about books, blogs, videos, apps, podcasts, scientific studies, and subreddits all dedicated to productivity.”

                                Like so many other people, I’ve also fallen into this trap. For years I’ve been on the lookout for trends and hacks that will help me work faster and more efficiently — and also trends that help me help others to be faster. I’ve experimented with various strategies and tools . And, while some of these strategies and solutions have been extremely useful — without parsing out what you need quickly — it’s counterproductive.

                                Sometimes you end up spending more time focusing on how to be productive instead of actually being productive.

                                “The most productive people I know don’t read these books, they don’t watch these videos, they don’t try a new app every month,” James Bedell wrote in a Medium post.[2] “They are far too busy getting things done to read about Getting Things Done.”

                                This is my mantra:

                                I proudly say, “I am addicted to productivity — I want to be addicted to productivity — productivity is my life and my mission — and I also want to find the best way to lead others through productivity to their best selves.

                                But most of the time productivity means putting your head down and working until the job’s done.” –John Rampton

                                Addiction to Productivity is Real

                                Dr. Sandra Chapman, director of the University of Texas at Dallas Center for BrainHealth points out that the brain can get addicted to productivity just as it can to more common sources of addiction, such as drugs, gambling, eating, and shopping.

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                                “A person might crave the recognition their work gives them or the salary increases they get,” Chapman told the BBC.[3] “The problem is that just like all addictions, over time, a person needs more and more to be satisfied, and then it starts to work against you. Withdrawal symptoms include increased anxiety, depression, and fear.”

                                Despite the harmful consequences, addiction is considered by some experts as a brain disease that affects the brain’s reward system and ends in compulsive behavior. Regardless, society tends to reward productivity — or at least to treat it positively. As a result, this makes the problem even worse.

                                “It’s seen like a good thing: the more you work, the better,” adds Chapman. “Many people don’t realize the harm it causes until a divorce occurs and a family is broken apart, or the toll it takes on mental health.”

                                Because of the occasional negative issues with productivity, it’s no surprise that it is considered a “mixed-blessing addiction.”

                                “A workaholic might be earning a lot of money, just as an exercise addict is very fit,” explains Dr. Mark Griffiths, distinguished professor of behavioral addiction at Nottingham Trent University. “But the thing about any addiction is that in the long run, the detrimental effects outweigh any short-term benefits.”

                                “There may be an initial period where the individual who is developing a work addiction is more productive than someone who isn’t addicted to work, but it will get to a point when they are no longer productive, and their health and relationships are affected,” Griffiths writes in Psychology Today.[4] “It could be after one year or more, but if the individual doesn’t do anything about it, they could end up having serious health consequences.”

                                “For instance, I speculated that the consequences of work addiction may be reclassified as something else: If someone ends up dying of a work-related heart attack, it isn’t necessarily seen as having anything to do with an addiction per se – it might be attributed to something like burnout,” he adds.

                                There Are Three “Distinct Extreme Productivity Types

                                Cyril Peupion, a Sydney-based productivity expert, has observed extreme productivity among clients at both large and medium-sized companies. “Most people who come to me are high performers and very successful. But often, the word they use to describe their work style is ‘unsustainable,’ and they need help getting it back on track.”

                                By changing their work habits, Peupion assists teams and individuals improve their performance and ensure that their efforts are aligned with the overarching strategy of the business, rather than focusing on work as a means to an end. He has distinguished three types of extreme productivity in his classification: efficiency obsessive, selfishly productive, and quantity-obsessed.

                                Efficiency obsessive. “Their desks are super tidy and their pens are probably color-coded. They are the master of ‘inbox zero.’ But they have lost sight of the big picture, and don’t know the difference between efficiency and effectiveness.”

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                                Selfishly productive. “They are so focused on their own world that if they are asked to do something outside of it, they aren’t interested. They do have the big picture in mind, but the picture is too much about them.”

                                Quantity-obsessed. “They think; ‘The more emails I respond to, the more meetings I attend, the more tasks I do, the higher my performance.’ As a result, they face a real risk of burnout.”

                                Peupion believes that “quantity obsessed” individuals are the most common type “because there is a pervasive belief that ‘more’ means ‘better’ at work.”

                                The Warning Signs of Productivity Addiction

                                Here are a few questions you should ask yourself if you think you may be succumbing to productivity addiction. After all, most of us aren’t aware of this until it’s too late.

                                • Can you tell when you’re “wasting” time? If so, have you ever felt guilty about it?
                                • Does technology play a big part in optimizing your time management?
                                • Do you talk about how busy you are most of the time? In your opinion, is hustling better than doing less?
                                • What is your relationship with your email inbox? Are you constantly checking it or experience phantom notifications?
                                • When you only check one item off your list, do you feel guilty?
                                • Does stress from work interfere with your sleep?
                                • Have you been putting things off, like a vacation or side project, because you’re “too swamped?

                                The first step toward turning around your productivity obsession is to recognize it. If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then it’s time to make a plan to overcome your addiction to productivity.

                                Overcoming Your Productivity Addiction

                                Thankfully, there are ways to curb your productivity addiction. And, here are 9 such ways to achieve that goal.

                                1. Set Limits

                                Just because you’re hooked on productivity doesn’t mean you have to completely abstain from it. Instead, you need to establish boundaries.

                                For example, there are a lot of amazing productivity podcasts out there. But, that doesn’t mean you have to listen to them all in the course of a day. Instead, you could listen to one or two podcasts, like The Productivity Podcast or Before Breakfast, during your commute. And, that would be your only time of the day to get your productivity fix.

                                2. Create a Not-to-Do List

                                Essentially, the idea of a not-to-do list is to eliminate the need to practice self-discipline. Getting rid of low-value tasks and bad habits will allow you to focus on what you really want to do as opposed to weighing the pros and cons or declining time requests. More importantly, this prevents you from feeling guilty about not crossing everything off an unrealistic to-do list.

                                3. Be Vulnerable

                                By this, I mean admitting where you could improve. For example, if you’re new to remote work and are struggling with thi s, you would only focus on topics in this area. Suggestions would be how to create a workspace at home, not getting distracted when the kids aren’t in school, or improving remote communication and collaboration with others.

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                                4. Understand Why You Procrastinate

                                Often, we procrastinate to minimize negative emotions like boredom or stress. Other times it could be because it’s a learned trait, underestimating how long it takes you to complete something or having a bias towards a task.

                                Regardless of the exact reason, we end up doing busy work, scrolling social media, or just watching one more episode of our favorite TV series. And, even though we know that it’s not for the best, we do things that make us feel better than the work we should do to restore our mood.[5]

                                There are a lot of ways to overcome procrastination. But, the first step is to be aware of it so that you can take action. For example, if you’re dreading a difficult task, don’t just watch Netflix. Instead, procrastinate more efficiently,y like returning a phone call or working on a client pitch.

                                5. Don’t Be a Copycat

                                Let’s keep this short and sweet. When you find a productivity app or technique that works for you, stick with it.

                                That’s not to say that you can’t make adjustments along the way or try new tools or hacks. However, the main takeaway should be that just because someone swears by the Pomodoro Technique doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for you.

                                6. Say Yes to Less

                                Across the board, your philosophy should be less is more.

                                That means only download the apps you actually use and want to keep (after you try them out) and uninstall the ones you don’t use. For example, are you currently reading a book on productivity? Don’t buy your next book until you’ve finished the one you’re currently reading (or permit yourself to toss a book that isn’t doing you any good). — and if you really want to finish a book more quickly, listen to the book on your way to work and back.

                                Already have plans this weekend? Don’t commit to a birthday party. And, if you’re day is booked, decline that last-minute meeting request.

                                7. Stop Focusing on What’s Next

                                “In the age when purchasing a thing from overseas is just one click and talking to another person is one swipe right, acquiring new objects or experiences can be addictive like anything else,” writes Patrick Banks for Lifehack .

                                “That doesn’t need to be you,” he adds. “You can stop your addition to ‘the next thing’ starting today.” After all, “there will always be this next thing if you don’t make a conscious decision to get your life back together and be the one in charge.”

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                                • Think about your current lifestyle and the person you’re at this stage to help you identify what you aren’t satisfied with.
                                • By setting clear goals for yourself in the future, you will be able to overcome your addiction.
                                • Establish realistic goals.
                                • To combat addiction, you must be aware of what is going on around you, as well as inside your head, at any given time.
                                • Don’t spend time with people who have unhealthy behaviors.
                                • Hold yourself accountable.
                                • Keep a journal and write out what you want to overcome.
                                • Appreciate no longer being addicted to what’s next.

                                8. Simplify

                                Each day, pick one priority task. That’s it. As long as you concentrate on one task at a time, you will be less likely to get distracted or overwhelmed by an endless list of tasks. A simple mantra to live by is: work smarter, not harder.

                                The same is also accurate with productivity hacks and tools. Bullet journaling is a great example. Unfortunately, for many, a bullet journal is way more time-consuming and overwhelming than a traditional planner.

                                9. Learn How to Relax

                                “Sure, we need to produce sometimes, especially if we have to pay the bills, but, banning obsession with productivity is unhealthy,” writes Leo Babauta. “When you can’t get yourself to be productive, relax.” Don’t worry about being hyper-efficient. And, don’t beat yourself up about having fun.

                                “But what if you can’t motivate yourself … ever?” he asks. “Sure, that can be a problem. But if you relax and enjoy yourself, you’ll be happier.”

                                “And if you work when you get excited, on things you’re excited about, and create amazing things, that’s motivation,” Leo states. “Not forcing yourself to work when you don’t want to, on things you don’t want to work on — motivation is doing things you love when you get excited.”

                                But, how exactly can you relax? Here are some tips from Leo;

                                • Spend 5 minutes walking outside and breathe in the fresh air.
                                • Give yourself more time to accomplish things. Less rushing means less stress.
                                • If you can, get outside after work to enjoy nature.
                                • Play like a child. Even better? Play with your kids. And, have fun at work — maybe give gamification a try .
                                • Take the day off, rest, and do something non-work-related.
                                • Allow yourself an hour of time off. Try not to be productive during that time. Just relax.
                                • You should work with someone who is exciting. Make your project exciting.
                                • Don’t work in the evenings. Seriously.
                                • Visit a massage therapist.
                                • Just breathe.

                                “Step by step, learn to relax,” he suggests. “Learn that productivity isn’t everything.” For that statement, sorry Leo, I say productivity isn’t everything — it’s the only thing.” However, if you can’t cut loose, relax, do fun things, and do the living part of your life — you’ll crack in a big way — you really will.

                                It’s great to create and push forward — just remember it doesn’t mean that every minute must be spent working or obsessing over productivity issues. Instead, invest your time in meaningful, high-impact work, get into it, focus, put in big time and then relax.

                                Are You Addicted to Productivity? was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.

                                Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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