Saturday, April 30, 2011

Google employees can tinker in company-sponsored workshops

Google is renowned for the benefits it extends to its hard working employees, some of which include free lunch and dinner, an on-site doctor, physical therapy and chiropractic services, and even free shuttle service to the San Francisco, East Bay, and South Bay locations. Think that’s good? Add on top of that parental leave for non-primary caregivers of up to seven weeks at 100% take-home pay and a one-time bonus to all employees last year that included $1000 cash and a 10% raise.
Google also goes out of its way to spur employee creativity through its 20% rule. The 20% rule allows for employees to work on projects of their own choosing which Google has benefited by since similar “personal projects” have spawned online offerings such as Gmail and Google News. Another, slightly cooler, benefit to Google employees has been a well kept secret.
Google Workshops opened in 2007 and is the brainchild of Larry Page who co-founded Google and is currently the company’s CEO. These workshops not only allow employees to build items with a business purpose, including prototype smartphones to run Android, but can be used by employees for fun, personal projects as well. Projects built by employees include holiday decorations, home cabinets and even a pedal-powered airplane with a 100-foot wingspan. Google Workshops consist of four rooms including one for metal, wood, welding and electronics. To use the shops, employees must past a test to ensure they have the qualifications to use some of the equipment available. Currently, only about 300 employees, or 1% of the company’s workforce, has been certified to date.
Existence of the Google Workshops came to light after Larry Page gave the Associate Press an exclusive tour after he returned to the position of CEO on April 4th.


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