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Google staff share stories of living at work

Googlers swap stories of living at work

This weekend, UK media has reported a number of accounts from Google staff who claim to have brought their home to work.

Employees have reported sleeping in cars, campervans and even inside the office, some for over a year. They noted that, as Google provides three meals a day, showers, laundry facilities and plenty of leisure activities to enjoy, they had everything they needed to live comfortably on site.

Speaking on a Quora forum, Matthew Weaver claimed to have been the first to try this when he spent a year living in the car park from 2005 to 2006 “on a dare”. Mr Weaver said that he simply parked up his campervan and made himself a home, even installing a makeshift front garden of Astroturf and a picket fence.

He added that the decision was “excellent for my career” and security staff at the company did not object, eventually going as far as to watch the van for him while he was at work.

“This was all the way back in 2005 and Google was a much smaller company then. A little bit more closely knit,” he said.

Others who claim to have lived the Google campus lifestyle include Ben Discoe, who says he lived out of his $1,800 van for over a year between 2011 and 2012, and Brandon Oxendine, who spent three months sleeping in the boot of his Volvo in 2012 and “would like to do it again”.

Does Google encourage living at work?

While Google has not publically commented on these stories, Mr Oxendine said that a friend had told him that the company forbids staff from being on campus for more than 72 hours.

A former HR worker added that there were rules against living at the office, but that people may have got around this by living in the car park.

Despite this, one staff member claims to have lived in office buildings from May 2011 until July 2012, sleeping in “nap pods, massage rooms and conference rooms”.

Google’s ongoing company culture of supplying plenty of perks to employees may mean that some continue to try and live covertly within the confines of the Googleplex, but Mr Weaver doubts that anyone could repeat his campervan living arrangements in the future.

Written by James Riches

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