The science of happiness at work

Google canteen
An enticing display at the Google canteen

Compare and contrast.

At Google, social science researchers have been engaged to advise on the optimal conditions in staff canteens:

“Researchers found that the ideal lunch line should be about three or four minutes long—that’s short enough that people don’t waste time but long enough that they can meet new people. The tables should be long, so workers who don’t know each other are forced to chat. And, after running an experiment, Google found that stocking cafeterias with 8-inch plates alongside 12-inch plates encouraged people to eat smaller, healthier portions.”

Meanwhile, at the recently completed corporate headquarters of a large media organisation, staff complain that their catering facilities are not fit for purpose:

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Reputation deconstructed

googleplex
Googleplex, Mountain View, California

Amazon tops the Reputation Institute’s 2011 survey of the most reputable American companies. Google leads the global survey.

In relation to the US study, the RI found that the excellent companies were:

  • 2.5 times more likely to have the CEO set the strategy for their enterprise positioning
  • 1.5 times more likely to include reputation metrics as part of their senior management “dashboard”
  • 15 times more likely to manage corporate reputation across company functions
  • 1.7 times more likely to use an outside partner to assist with corporate reputation management

There’s some interesting detail on how reputation affects consumers’ buying decisions. The RI found that people take into account their whole impression of a company, not just their view of its products or services, when deciding whether to buy:

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How long will Google retain a place in our hearts?

Google Streetview car

Why do we love Google?  A question prompted by its tenth anniversary and the launch of the game-changing Google Chrome browser.  I’m in a love-hate relationship with Google – delighted by its products, worried about its encroachment into my life.  The dark side to Google’s brand foretells difficulties in the years to come.

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