For many years authors and pundits have held Google as the
gold standard in the area of innovative management
Practices like nap pods, free food, laundry services, etc.
were designed to keep people at work for 12+ hours per
Why would any “innovative” company want to keep people at
work 24/7 at a time when we are attempting to initiate
Work-Life Balance Programs?
Well in Google’s case, it needed employees to eat, sleep,
drink, and breath the Google “Kool-Aide” otherwise it
would need to increase its workforce by a factor of 3. As
such, Google has attempted to make the workplace an
employee’s whole world. In order to do this, it needed to
provide employees with tools to connect with other
Googlers on a social level and this is one of the areas
where the social experiment is failing.
For years Google has prided itself on its open
communication systems with its numerous message boards on
which people could post just about anything. Then last
year, Google terminated James Damore for expressing his
views on women and biology and the social experiment began
to unravel. As it unraveled, word began to spread as to
how toxic the various message boards have become.
As a result of this open communication system, over 2,600
Google employees signed a petition demanding a safer
workplace simply due to the nastiness of many of the
postings on the message boards.
Now Google is attempting to inforce civility rules for its
message boards as it is finding that people purposely post
provocative issues relative to politics, religion, etc. in
order to get a reaction out of others as well as post
personal information about coworkers as a form of
harassment or retaliation.
Google is learning what real world companies have known
#1 Work is work, not your whole world.
#2 It’s fine to be a “company person,” but have a social
life outside of work.
#3 There is no such thing as absolute freedom of speech at
#4 Companies must control what occurs within the 4 walls
of work for the good of everyone.
To be clear, we are not suggesting censorship. However
when you think of it, small businesses have had it right
all along and can provide great role models for Google to
follow – isn’t that an interesting twist?