Google’s Perks

Looking for a Lesson in Google’s Perks By  James B. Stewart  The New York Times Business Day

Google has found ways  to keep their employees interested.

Truck Pit, one of the four cafeterias in Google’s East Coast headquarters.Photo Karsten Moran for The New York Times


“After Yahoo’s chief executive, Marissa Mayer, ordered employees working from home to show up at the office for work, there was speculation that she was emulating Google, her previous employer.

Whatever else might be said about Yahoo’s workplace, it’s a long way from Google’s, as I discovered this week when I dropped in at Google’s East Coast headquarters, a vast former Port Authority shipping complex that occupies a full city block in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan… Google’s various offices and campuses around the globe reflect the company’s overarching philosophy, which is nothing less than “to create the happiest, most productive workplace in the world” according to a Google spokesman, Jordan Newman.

Mr. Newman, 27, who joined Google straight from Yale…led me on a brisk and, at times, dizzying excursion through a labyrinth of play areas; cafes, coffee bars and open kitchens; sunny outdoor terraces with chaises; gourmet cafeterias that serve free breakfast, lunch and dinner; Broadway-theme conference rooms with velvet drapes; and conversation areas designed to look like vintage subway cars.” Read more…

Language Skill Activities


Directions: Place students in groups. Have them study the photographs and describe what they  see in the picture.


Directions:  Have students read infer the meanings of the words (in bold) from the article.

Words in context.

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words.

  1. Employees express themselves by scribbling on walls.
  2. Google’s various offices and campuses around the globe reflect the company’s overarching philosophy.
  3. Mr. Newman…led me on a brisk and, at times, dizzying excursion.
  4. We’re trying to push the boundaries of the workplace.
  5. Craig Nevill-Manning was the impetus behind the company’s decision to hire a cadre of engineers in New York.


Questions for Reading Comprehension

1. Google’s location in Manhattan use to be a___

a. former Port Authority shipping complex

b.  a Manhattan club

c. a skating rink

2. Googles’ philosophy is___

a.  to make employees work hard

b. to make lots of money

c. to create the happiest, most productive workplace

3. Jordan Newman is a___

a. owner of Google

b. CEO of  google

c. spokesperson for google

4. Googles’ workplace sounds like a___to work.

a. sad place

b. fun place

c. busy place

5. Most of  googles’s employees live ___ the building.

a. close to

b. far from

c. in the


Questions for discussion

  1. Do you think Google’s methods are a good way to run a business? Provide reasons for why or why not.
  2. Will more people want to work for Google now that it has made these new changes?  Explain why (or why not).
  3. How will all of these changes affect Google’s overall profits?
  4. With your group members,  create your own company and include the following:  what would it look like ( e.g., location, type of physical layout, colors) and what rules would you have for your employees and what would your company’s philosophy be?
  5. Explain the following saying in your own words:

“Let a man practice the profession which he best knows.”— Cicero (From: Forbes Thought Of The Day)

Answer Key



  1. scribble – |ˈskribəl|-verb [ with obj. ]-write or draw (something) carelessly or hurriedly: he took the clipboard and scribbled something illegible.
  2. philosophy –philosophy |fəˈläsəfē|-noun ( pl. philosophies )• a theory or attitude held by a person or organization that acts as a guiding principle for behavior: don’t expect anything and you won’t be disappointed, that’s my philosophy.
  3. excursion- excursion |ikˈskərZHən|-noun-a short journey or trip, esp. one engaged in as a leisure activity: an excursion to Mount Etna.
  4. boundaries- boundary |ˈbound(ə)rē|-noun ( pl. boundaries )• (often boundaries) a limit of a subject or sphere of activity: a community without class or political boundaries.
  5.  impetus= impetus |ˈimpitəs|-noun-the force that makes something happen or happen more quickly: the crisis of the 1860s provided the original impetus for the settlements.

Source: New Oxford American Dictionary


Questions for Reading Comprehension

1a. -2c. -3c.- 4b.- 5a.