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

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 Mobile technology and flexible scheduling means the traditional model of one desk and one chair in one office is obsolete, and Google has long recognized that.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

                                Productivity and self-improvement blogger

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                                Last Updated on September 17, 2018

                                How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

                                How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

                                Today we are expected to work in highly disruptive environments. We sit down at our desks, turn on our computer and immediately we are hit with hundreds of emails all vying for our attention.

                                Our phones are beeping and pinging with new alerts to messages, likes and comments and our colleagues are complaining about the latest company initiative is designed to get us to do more work and spend less time at home.

                                All these distractions result in us multitasking where our attention is switching between one crisis and the next.

                                Multitasking is a problem. But how to stop multitasking?

                                How bad really is multitasking?

                                It dilutes your focus and attention so even the easiest of tasks become much harder and take longer to complete.

                                Studies have shown that while you think you are multitasking, you are in fact task switching, which means your attention is switching between two or more pieces of work and that depletes the energy resources you have to do your work.

                                This is why, even though you may have done little to no physical activity, you arrive home at the end of the day feeling exhausted and not in the mood to do anything.

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                                We know it is not a good way to get quality work done, but the demands for out attention persist and rather than reduce, are likely to increase as the years go by.

                                So what to do about it?

                                Ways to stop multitasking and increase productivity

                                Now, forget about how to multitask!

                                Here are a few strategies on how to stop multitasking so you can get better quality and more work done in the time you have each working day:

                                1. Get enough rest

                                When you are tired, your brain has less strength to resist even the tiniest attention seeker. This is why when you find your mind wandering, it is a sign your brain is tired and time to take a break.

                                This does not just mean taking breaks throughout the day, it also means making sure you get enough sleep every day.

                                When you are well rested and take short regular breaks throughout the day your brain is fully refuelled and ready to focus in on the work that is important.

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                                2. Plan your day

                                When you don’t have a plan for the day, the day will create a plan for you. When you allow outside influences to take control of your day, it is very hard not to be dragged off in all directions.

                                When you have a plan for the day, when you arrive at work your brain knows exactly what it is you want to accomplish and will subconsciously have prepared itself for a sustained period of focused work.

                                Your resistance to distractions and other work will be high and you will focus much better on the work that needs doing.

                                3. Remove everything from your desk and screen except for the work you are doing

                                I learned this one a long time ago. In my previous work, I worked in a law office and I had case files to deal with. If I had more than one case file on my desk at any one time, I would find my eyes wandering over the other case files on my desk when I had something difficult to do.

                                I was looking for something easier. This meant often I was working on three or four cases at one time and that always led to mistakes and slower completion.

                                Now when I am working on something, I am in full-screen mode where all I can see is the work I am working on right now.

                                4. When at your desk, do work

                                We are creatures of habit. If we do our online shopping and news reading at our desks as well as our work, we will always have the temptation to be doing stuff that we should not be doing at that moment.

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                                Do your online shopping from another place—your home or from your phone when you are having a break—and only do your work when at your desk. This conditions your brain to focus in on your work and not other distractions.

                                5. Learn to say no

                                Whenever you hear the phrase “learn to say no,” it does not mean going about being rude to everyone. What it does mean is delay saying yes.

                                Most problems occur when we say “yes” immediately. We then have to spend an inordinate amount of energy thinking of ways to get ourselves out of the commitment we made.

                                By saying “let me think about it” or “can I let you know later” gives you time to evaluate the offer and allows you to get back to what you were doing quicker.

                                6. Turn off notifications on your computer

                                For most of us, we still use computers to do our work. When you have email alert pop-ups and other notifications turned on, they will distract you no matter how strong you feel.

                                Turn them off and schedule email reviewing for times between doing your focused work. Doing this will give you a lot of time back because you will be able to remain focused on the work in front of you.

                                7. Find a quiet place to do your most important work

                                Most workplaces have meeting rooms that are vacant. If you do have important work to get done, ask if you can use one of those rooms and do your work there.

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                                You can close the door, put on your headphones and just focus on what is important. This is a great way to remove all the other, non-important, tasks demanding your attention and just focus on one piece of work.

                                The bottom line

                                Focusing on one piece of work at a time can be hard but the benefits to the amount of work you get done are worth it. You will make fewer mistakes, you will get more done and will feel a lot less tired at the end of the day.

                                Make a list of the four or five things you want to get done the next day before you finish your work for the day and when you start the day, begin at the top of the list with the first item.

                                Don’t start anything else until you have finished the first one and then move on to the second one. This one trick will help you to become way more productive.

                                Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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