My office is a basement with some dingy windows overlooking a rat infested open drain in Leeds.
Undercover Register snappers have penetrated Google's new London offices to bring you an early look at the type of working conditions the Chocolate Factory offers its London-based Ooompa Loompas. First off, there's a pom-pom creating room ... pompom room The results of their work are then placed inside the "conference …
I work in a small office, hidden at the back of a school, with a lovely view of an air-conditioning machine (or three) and (just visible) the length of a long outside path to a brick building regularly trampled by screaming kids. If I really squint from the right angle, I can see the top of a dead tree. However, I now have an unrivalled knowledge of the outside cabling due to the fact that it all runs across buildings and into my view before coming into my office.
You people don't know you've lived until you've tried to code C with classes of nursery-age children tearing past your window while workmen trample all over your roof and rip up all your cables.
Screaming kids and heavily shod workmen, you don't know you're born mate, when I were a lad we'd an office in a converted Victorian grain-store beside a fire-station on the docks. the wind whistled through that place pushing the rats before it. There were days during the winter when it got down to -3...Kelvin the rats were so big there was 2 meals on them and the smell from the printing works down-stairs was worse than the noise... You tell that to young people today and they won't believe you (OK, it was Celcius and we never barbecued the rats, though I reckon they were closer to a hare than a rabbit in body mass, but otherwise not a word of a lie.)
Windows are overrated.
I've got a shiny, new 5th floor corner office that attracts light and heat in the same way that dead camels attract flies. I get a choice of windows closed and sweat or windows open and deafened by the pile-drivers, cranes and excavators working on the motorway tunnel construction outside. Oh and gassed by the diesel fumes from the honking great queue of trucks trying to get through the roadworks when the wind's in the right direction for added fun.
Of course we have it tough,
there's 150 of us working in a shoe box in tthe middle of road. I have to get up at 10 o'clock at night, half an hour before I go to bed, eat a handful of cold poison, work 29 hours a day and pay development director for permission to come to work.
I used to work for a social networking site in London that had:
A secret 'granny flat' behind a BT phone box. Granny flat has nasty wallpaper, dinning table, ducks on the wall, wing-back chairs, projected views of various places as windows.
A torture/board room. In the middle was a table with rubber human organs under a sheet of glass.
*That submarine door, done it years ago!
Gibbet cages complete with bodies and nasty things
A Mexican jail
Cold war nuclear bunker
Tree house meeting room (on an indoor tree)
Indoor waterfall and much better places to sit/meet
US-style 1950's Snack bar/ coffee/tee wagon (inside)
Gig room with bar area.
Google's interior designers appear to have either worked at the same place or been scanning a search engine...oh.
I wonder if any of your other readers have also worked in places where money wasn't a problem when it came to interior design?
Pub? The only pub this might have come from is one of those high class places in Soho. You know, the ones where the mirrors in the bathroom are mounted on a table and there are special room in the back where they keep the thai ladyboys.
I hear they're doing a booming trade now the tories are in power again.
For all of the peeps in dingy basements and that, might I suggest the introduction of copious office plants. Many species are more than happy with low light levels and even the emissions from office devices such as laser printers etc. They really can improve the working environment to great effect and you can take pleasure in pampering them, even though many are low maintenance - plants generally respond well to some acknowledgement of their being there - nice :-)
Just a question, because I never have. I've met nice people who have worked or work for Microsoft, IBM, even Oracle occasionally, but never Google. Does Google UK have an HR policy that excludes nice people, or have just missed them? Everyone I've ever met who worked or works for Google UK has been a complete wanker: an arrogant and charmless cross between an autistic techie and the worst kind of Yellow Pages salesperson. How come?
I can't make up my mind if they are simply 'trying too hard' or really don't have a clue. It's like something a four year old would have vomited up.
I guess there are going to some bargains around London's furniture and charity shops in the coming weeks; "designer table and chair set; one chair missing". This is what happens when one takes 'concept' and turns it into reality. I've seen better results delivered on Changing Rooms.
So who exactly is going to be using this? Those really hard working young middle management types with lots of creative energy who need their own space to come up with 'awesome' products?
I've worked at places like this and from my limited experience it just produces lazy work shy c*nts who'd rather be planning 'lunch' and their next squash game instead of getting some f*cking work done.
But, I guess if you've got loads of money to piss around with then good for them.
I looked at the pictures of the tasteless interiors but, because I am well aware that money does not buy sophistication, I found no surprises whatsoever.
What I did find, was that this was, in its own way, analogous to the large multi-storey toilet bowl in the woods that Apple is building for its new headquarters. But then again, the only work of artistic merit that Apple has ever produced, has been those heavily photoshopped pictures of Steve Jobs.
Compare all the foregoing with JP Morgan's art collection and library. Sometimes it seems as though only technology advances, and not anything else.
Looks like its for sitting about chatting, not actually working.
Think of any poor sod trying to use their laptop for any length of time in any of those environments.
All well and good, sitting about being 'creative' (http://dilbert.com/2012-03-18/) but I expect their bosses want some sort of end product.
Most of the pics you have shown are break-out areas or meeting rooms. The working areas are relatively normal apart from the doors, and the booths, where you can go and do work in peace, or hold one-to-ones. They also have an amazing staff canteen.
The most memorable part though was the carpets, which have a pile deeper than some swimming pools. It's like walking on clouds.
Anonymous in case our future overlords' carpets are somehow a vital secret.
I must say I am quite surprised to see that Google UK are actually staying......
The easiest way to deal with cookie law that is shortly to be enforced in this country is quite simply - not to have any headquarters in a country that is enforcing it. Don't be surprised in 3 - 4 months time when Big Companies pack up in the UK and move somewhere where a small text file on a visitors computer is not considered illegal.
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