Google Employees Used Perks to Live House-Free

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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.”

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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.

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12 Responses to “Google Employees Used Perks to Live House-Free”

  1. I like using Google products, Search, Email, Google Voice, etc, but working for them is another story, while those perks may be cool to a new single college graduate, having employees live in their cars is nothing to be proud of, if the employees were paid well and had overtime pay, they would be able to afford a place and have a life outside work. The housing development is smart move though, and offering subsidized housing for employees in lower income brackets is what more companies should do. I’ll give them Kudo’s for that. I also attend Macintosh User Group meetings once a month at Google, the group is sponsored by Chris DiBona who I worked with at Valinux, why doesn’t Google allow us to have free meals when visiting the campus, or allow food that’s going to spoil if it is not used that day, be offered at the user group meetings?

    • Kiran Hegde

      Well, from what is known , Google pays quite well to be able to rent an apartment. I am sure the employees living in their cars did it not because they could not afford an apartement but because they wanted to leverage the facilities offerred by the company and save money.

  2. Living out of a camper in the parking lot … if that’s what they choose to do, and the co (and city!) are OK w habitats in the parking lot, not our business. There are plenty of people in the area who don’t have Google salaries (or even high-tech salaries), living in campers by necessity rather than choice. There are plenty of ‘working poor’ living out of their cars some with families.

    In the vein of ‘Do no evil’, perhaps Google could help with some public housing, as they have helped create the housing crisis in SiValley ?

    Senor Medeiros – many of the SiValley companies have arrangements for excess food to be donated to recognized charities, and we should thank them for this largesse.

  3. Brooklyn Bob

    It’s not Google’s responsibility (or of any corporation, for that matter) to provide housing for employees. Google’s employees are well paid and well motivated, and should be able to find their own housing – not abusing the benefits that Google offers.

  4. Can the endless worship and fawning of anything that happens at Google (Facebook, et. al.) please stop? The upper echelon of Google is comprised of self-centered sociopaths who use people as a means to an end and make no apologies for it.

  5. RegularGuy55

    I would imagine there are zoning laws that cover the Google campus, and I’ll also wager those zoning laws don’t include residential uses. In other words, not only does it look bad for Google employees to be housed in their cars, it may also have violated some local laws.

    I doubt seriously whether Google would be as tolerant if a bunch of homeless non-employees decided to camp out in their parking lots.

    There’s nothing good and nothing positive in this article.

  6. Late reply, but it’s currently the City of Mountain View which is preventing Google from creating additional housing. Also, with the number of hours Google employees spend on the campus each day, why pay Bay Area rents for an apartment you won’t even be awake in? Better to “tough it out” while you’re young, and buy a Bay Area house as soon as possible.