Bowling alleys, bocce courts and camping out: Why Google's staff are so happy

Google's latest project: a super-efficient airport. How does Larry Page keep his staff churning out the big ideas?

by Kate Bassett
Last Updated: 24 Sep 2014

Larry Page already has his 40,000-strong Google gang working on self-driving cars, robots, artificial intelligence and drones.

As if those projects weren't bold enough, now he's tasked his team with building an uber-efficient airport

How does the Google big cheese keep his staff so darn productive?

'When you treat people [well]... you get better productivity,' says Page. 'Rather than really caring what hours you worked, you care about output. We should continue to innovate in our relationship with our employees and figure out the best things we can do for them... Our people have also been a lot happier and more productive, which is much more important.'

Among other benefits, Google employees can help themselves to whatever's in the canteen and use the company's bocce courts (an Italian version of bowls), bowling alleys or gyms. Some employees even save on accommodation costs by camping out at the business’ headquarters.

Google isn’t alone in offering great employee perks. Johnson & Johnson's staff have access to a concierge service that will see to it that their chores get done. Sheffield-based software firm WANdisco has unlimited holiday allowance, a pool table and an office helter skelter. Brand consultancy the Octopus Group hosts a summer festival for staff called 'Rocktostock'.

What unusual perks does your company offer? How do you keep your staff happy and healthy? What benefits really make a difference?

Join our live conversation with Unum about caring companies on here and on Twitter between 1-2.30pm tomorrow. We’ll be joined by a panel of experts, but we want to hear your views and experiences too.

Tell us your thoughts at or tweet us @MT_editorial using #healthybiz.


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