My dear Googlers, I hate to break it to you, but when it comes to salary and benefits, you’re probably overpaid. Enjoy your gourmet meals, your on site fitness centers and your flexible schedules while you can. This extravagance will soon be crushed by your shareholders. Every penny that’s spent on free lattes is a penny out of shareholders’ pockets. Soon it will be time to create more shareholder value.
There’s a reason that all offices have cubes. It’s an efficient way to store workers. Companies need workers but they need to do the absolute minimum necessary to retain those workers by way of compensation (sometimes this can be a lot). This is determined by what the market will bear.
It won’t happen overnight, but cubiclization is inevitable. First, they’ll go from gourmet food to lunch-lady-land style cafeteria food that no one wants. Then, after people stop using it, they’ll close it all together and put in cubicles. The same will happen to the workout areas. Google will outgrow the building necessitating the removal of the treadmills. Instead you will, once again, get more cubicles.
In one interview I saw, a Generation Y slacker said: “I come into work at 11 because I like to sleep in.” Frankly, most managers view this behavior as indicative of mental illness. That policy is doomed to go out the door as well. It will probably be replaced by 8:00 to 5:00 (with a half hour for lunch) for hourly employees and 7:30 to 9 for the salaried. You people will have to learn to work, not slack. Just because you may not have much stomach for personal inconvenience for the sake of work, doesn’t mean five people somewhere else in the world won’t do what you do for a tenth of your salary and with a lot more engagement. Economics hasn’t changed.
So will go your “twenty percent” time. It will be engulfed by the demands of the projects you’re working that actually have economic value. You know, working on something that makes money?
I’m not the only one who foresees this, Wired Magazine did a piece on this concept when Google did it’s IPO.
So enjoy your ping pong and pool tables. Enjoy your X-boxes and pets at work. Enjoy your free M&Ms. They are going to go the way of all things. Also, look on the bright side, when you lose the gourmet meals, you’ll lose all the weight you’ve gained. You’ll probably be able to keep your lava lamps. They don’t cost much. New ones will probably have to be bought refurbished however.