How Google redefined the modern workforce

Google is commonly seen as the pioneer of the cool workplace. Features like free barista coffee, sleep pods and vibrant design were defining characteristics of the internet giant and have been adapted by various companies worldwide, from edgy tech start-ups to long-established accounting firms.

Flexible arrangements, work-life balance, wellness – these are no longer buzzwords but the norm for employers all over the world. Dutch startup Heldergroen has desks that are pulled up from the ceiling when the clock hits 6:00pm, while AOL’s Virginia office maximises space with furniture designed to fit inside the walls. The wellbeing, mental health and happiness of staff is more closely monitored than ever before, with employers outlining these perks in position descriptions to attract talented applicants.

LinkedIn’s recent list of the best companies to work for in Australia saw the top 10 filled with big organisations in the financial and professional services industries. There was a common theme for the likes of Commonwealth Bank, NAB, PwC, Deloitte, EY and KPMG; perks were based around gender equality, personal finance advice and flexible working.

This isn’t the only publication measuring workplaces based on this metric. Best Places to Work in Australia segmented their list by number of employees and revealed some interesting results, with Mars (over 1000), Stryker (over 100) and Avenue Dental (under 100) taking out top billing in their respective categories.

Rankings, surveys and lists are good indicators but what defines a great workplace changes from person to person. Some love all the bells and whistles, the yoga classes and discounted gym memberships, while others prefer the practicality of being able to adjust their own hours and work remotely. Some people just want to be treated well and paid on time. Regardless of your personal preference, the trend doesn’t appear to be showing any signs of slowing down.

Google is one of the keynote speakers at the Sydney ACS Seminar, providing the audience an exciting opportunity to ask questions.

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