“Google is for the most part an unconventional kind of company, and we intend to stay one,” says Zeffri Yusof, who heads communications and public affairs for Google Malaysia, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
One look around the office in Kuala Lumpur and you tend to agree immediately. The colourful workspace is characterised by the subtle merging of work and play areas, and the use of localised markers such as the naming of the meeting rooms.
As an organisation grounded in data, the approach to setting up the office is no different.
“We tackle the workplace like our engineers tackle computer science – with data and a willingness to try new things and think outside the box,” he says.
Google believes in hard work and a fun atmosphere, topped with “the sort of creativity that only comes about when talented people from diverse backgrounds approach problems from varying perspectives”.
“Investing in ‘Googlers’ drives business outcomes that we care about: innovation and retention,” he says.
“And we know that happier employees are more productive, and more likely to stay at Google.”
To drive that blend of productivity and happiness, Google offers employees a host of on-site facilities.
A wholesome breakfast and lunch is served daily at the locally named cafeteria, Gerai Gugel, along with free snacks and beverages in micro-kitchens, which provide Googlers with “food experiences that support them in being their best”.
There are cosy nooks and corners for Googlers who need isolated personal space for creative work, and attractive meeting rooms of various designs and sizes to cater to big and small meetings.
“We work hard to create the healthiest, happiest and most productive work environments possible that support peak performance and inspire wellbeing.”
With Googlers typically spending half their day at work, the workplace aims to be a home away from home, equipped with facilities for relaxation and leisure.
This includes a recreation area with indoor games such as foosball, arcades, ping pong, and pool. An on-site massage therapy service and massage chairs are also available to help Googlers relax.
Yusof ties in all of these elements together: “Fun, friendly colleagues, a strong, yet adaptive culture and a supportive environment that values life as much as it does work, nurtures and encourages performance and productivity.”
He adds, that with Googlers having the opportunity to be involved in developing innovative products and services, having an engaging workspace that takes away worries and offers a stress-free, easy exchange of information, is key to making a positive difference in people’s lives every day.
For other companies looking to redecorate their offices, the key lesson is to build workspaces according to how you want your people to behave and interact with each other.
For example, spaces that spark conversations between colleagues and teams about work and play tend to foster collaboration. In the case of Google, the delicious, healthy and free lunches and welcoming eating spaces promote employees across the organisation to come together.
“Micro-kitchens are ‘watering holes’ where people gather to discuss ideas or just take a break. Regular Friday office get-togethers and activities foster camaraderie beyond work.”
All images: Provided