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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 Mobile technology and flexible scheduling means the traditional model of one desk and one chair in one office is obsolete, and Google has long recognized that.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 January 6, 2021

                                14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

                                14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

                                Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

                                In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

                                For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

                                For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

                                Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

                                Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

                                Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

                                How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

                                Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

                                1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

                                Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

                                For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

                                2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

                                Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

                                Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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                                Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

                                3. Create a System

                                Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

                                This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

                                You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

                                Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

                                Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

                                4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

                                We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

                                If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

                                Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

                                Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

                                5. Use a Ratings Scale

                                Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

                                Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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                                It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

                                6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

                                This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

                                You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

                                You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

                                7. Offer Feedback Forms

                                Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

                                First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

                                Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

                                You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

                                8. Track Cost Effectiveness

                                This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

                                Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

                                Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

                                9. Use Self-Evaluations

                                Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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                                Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

                                10. Monitor Time Management

                                This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

                                Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

                                  The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

                                  While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

                                  11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

                                  We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

                                  Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

                                  For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

                                  Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

                                  Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

                                  From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

                                  12. Utilize Peer Feedback

                                  This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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                                  Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

                                  Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

                                  It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

                                  13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

                                  When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

                                  Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

                                  Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

                                  14. Use an External Evaluator

                                  Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

                                  They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

                                  While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

                                  Final Thoughts

                                  These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

                                  The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

                                  The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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                                  Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

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