Quite a lot, it seems. On the day of its inauguration, Google employees, or Googlers as they fondly call themselves, found themselves at Signature Towers II looking at a big, red bow on the building. A man rappelled down the glass facade and untied the bow to cheers from below. If that was unconventional, it’s just as melodramatic inside. With Google security staff on vigil at automated entry points, the feeling that you’re walking into a sci-fi vault is unmistakeable.
“Each Google office is unique, but is united in its underlying theme of fun,” a Google spokesperson tells me. Like most Google offices globally, the Gurgaon office is also eco-friendly. “The interiors have minimal synthetic paint and use eco-friendly materials like stone. We have ensured there is maximum natural light near the work stations,” the spokesperson adds. The counter where employees discard their food trays also has garbage bins sorted according to the kind of waste.
Rajan Anandan, managing director, Google India, elaborates further: “Investing in Googlers drives business outcome that we care about — innovation. And we know that happier employees are more productive and do cool things that really matter.”
Spanning 160,000 square feet across eight floors, the new Google office affords about 200 sq feet per employee, making the old office appear congested with just 150 sq feet per employee. The building currently houses 450 Googlers and 250 service staff. There’s space for another 250 employees.
But what necessitated a new office? “It is a reflection of our commitment to our employees, who are our most valuable resource,” says Anandan. Could this be a move towards curbing employee turnover? There is no official comment from Google India on employee turnover, but Googlers in the office say that most of them stay with the company for two to three years.
“The office makes you feel very productive and you have to worry about nothing but the work. Google spoils you to the extent that other companies pale in comparison,” admits a Googler who does not want to be named.
Like one gets used to a high-end smartphone, Googlers too seem to have settled in. Do they miss their old office? “I miss Cyber Hub! Besides, being on eight floors instead of two makes the space less interactive,” says the Googler. Ahem, is this a case of the grass being greener on the other side?
Surabhi Agarwal contributed to this report
Google office: All work, all play