Google is renowned for its enviable employee perks. We’ve all seen images of that fireman’s pole at its US headquarters, those nap pods and bowling alleys. Workers are said to get free food, free haircuts, free gym memberships and to be able to bring their pets to work.
So, it’s no wonder then that Google’s new London headquarters, which has just been given the green light so it can be built next to King’s Cross train station, is just as quirky.
The new Google site – which will be around the size of seven tennis courts – is set to include a swimming pool, a running track on the roof and, even a climbing wall between floors.
Google submitted its plans for the 1m square feet development to Camden Council in June, and intends to relocate staff who are currently based in two places – at Victoria and Holborn to the new King’s Cross building when it is finished at the end of 2016.
More of a groundscraper, than a skyscraper, the new Google base will be longer than the Shard skyscraper is tall.
It will cost Google a staggering £1bn to build and will mean all Google workers are on the same site. At the moment, there are two bases – in Victoria near to Microsoft, and in Holborn by Tottenham Court Road.
Google’s move is a real coup for King’s Cross as a whole and its presence is expected to attract other technology companies to the area – especially small start-ups who want to be associated with the Google brand. It is also expected to bump up rents in King’s Cross.
And, the new building is also expected to house 16 retail stores – in a partnership with Kings Cross Central, meaning the retail offering in Kings Cross will be improved.
Matt Brittin, who is vice-president for northern and central Europe at Google, said: “This is a big investment by Google. We’re committing further to the UK – where computing and the web were invented.”
He added: “It’s good news for Google, for London and for the UK.”
The new building is expected to house a total of 5,000 workers. We expect with Google’s pedigree and the fact it always makes Fortune’s Best Places to Work list, there will be queues around the block of people wanting to be one of those chosen Google employees.
Fortune awarded Google the number one spot in its 2012 list of 100 Best Companies to Work For, the fourth time Google has held the top spot.
Describing what made Google such a fantastic employer, Fortune said: “The internet juggernaut takes the Best Companies crown for the fourth time, and not just for the 100,000 hours of subsidised massages it doled out in 2012. New this year are three wellness centres and a seven-acre sports complex, which includes a roller hockey rink, courts for basketball, bocce, and shuffle ball; and horseshoe pits.”