In a bid to keep its employees on campus for as long as possible, Google’s Mountain View headquarters offers a variety of perks, including free food, gym facilities, and dry cleaning. But according to Business Insider (which drew its sourcing from a Quora thread), some employees are using those perks to never leave the office.
“[One] guy lived in the camper for 2-3 years. Showered at the gym. Did his laundry on campus. Ate every meal on campus he could,” wrote one Google employee on the thread, as quoted by Business Insider. “After the 2-3 years, he had saved up enough money to buy a house.”
Some programmers and developers stayed on the Google campus for months at a time, relying on the company’s perks for food and hygiene while sleeping in their cars. In many ways, it’s reminiscent of Dave Eggers’ “The Circle,” a novel about an Internet company modeled on Google, in which characters can tuck away for the night in cubes scattered around the (fictional) campus.
In real life, meanwhile, Google archrival Facebook seems to have solved at least some of its employee habitation issues with a 394-unit community development next door to its headquarters. Once complete (possibly in 2015), the Facebook company town will feature bars, convenience stores, and a swimming pool.
Should Google and other companies join Facebook in building houses and apartment complexes for employees, the addition of even thousands of units won’t alleviate the housing crunch in Silicon Valley or San Francisco, where the tech boom is sending rents into the stratosphere. But should these tech companies want to keep their most valued employees as close as possible—and one presumes they do—the offer of housing at affordable prices could certainly help make the case for sticking around. Google has already demonstrated that, for the price of some food and a shower, some employees will never really leave.
- IRS Wants Tech Workers to Pay Taxes on Those Free Meals
- The Unintended Consequences of Tech Startups
- The Best Tech Companies for Work-Life Balance