• The Scroll: Google vs. UST

    Because St. Thomas has received a couple of local best places to work honors, I was immediately interested when I read that Google had been named Fortune magazine’s best place to work in the world for the fourth year running. Here was an opportunity to see what it takes to break into the big time.

    Dr. Susan Alexander

    Dr. Susan Alexander

    Mentioned first were compensation, childcare, work-life balance and health benefits. OK, so it will take some money, I thought, but at least we have a child development center and a work-life balance link on the HR page of our website. This should get us started.

    But a lot of places have these. What’s Google got that UST could use to move into the national workplace rankings? I read on:

    • 100,000 hours of free massage
    • 1,000 bikes maintained for employee use
    • A wellness center
    • Sports complex

    So far, so good. Fortune, waxing eloquent, pronounced Google as “almost like a college campus with free food, benefits for pets and electric cars.” We were doing OK until the free food part. I love the stir fry in Anderson, but free it’s not. Maybe at a stretch I could think of the golf carts and the Hour Cars as electric, though, and, of course, we do have the Department of Dog Advocacy, but the cat people are on their own.

    Google also has garden plots for employees to grow their own – vegetables, that is. St. Thomas is probably too space-challenged for that, but there is the community garden.

    The Google perk that really got my attention was the nap pods. The Google vice president of work place services recommends five- to 15-minute power naps for all employees. Our Leather Room is nice but those pods look really comfy. I am 100 percent sure productivity would go up if only we had a better place for power naps.

    The benefit that looked really perfect for St. Thomas is the Google version of the conference room. Google replaces the traditional conference table and chairs with such creative choices as diner booths, a ski gondola in Zurich, a sidewalk café in Istanbul and a pub in Dublin. We would be on a roll – Archbishop John Ireland would really like that pub.

    But then my quest for national recognition hit the skids. Google research shows that the one color to be avoided at all costs is … purple.

    5 Comments

    • Nathan

      Thank you for the article, Susan. I did not know about the work-life balance page on HR’s site.

      UST also has a free Bike Share program run by the OSF Library and Wellness Center: http://www.stthomas.edu/libraries/services/bikeshare …and yes, even in the winter months some hardy Minnesotans are checking out the bikes.

      27 Feb 2013 09:02 am
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    • Barbara Gorski

      Dr. Alexander -

      I have been advocating for napping spaces for years! Go Google!! So often, “just a little nap…” would make all of the difference in the world!

      I love your approach to this article – clever humor with a few provocative insights!

      Thanks…good morning read!

      Be Well!
      Babrara Gorski

      27 Feb 2013 10:02 am
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    • Barbara Gorski

      Oh…I forgot to comment on the purple thing. There Google has it all wrong!!

      Purple is the color with the highest energy vibration – it contains the energy and strength of red with the spirituality and integrity of blue. Purple is the color of sound judgment and integrity and is used by those seeking spiritual fulfillment. People who surround themselves with purple are more likely to be people of integrity and have peace of mind.

      Give me purple any day! We all need more purple!

      Again…Be Well!
      Barbara Gorski

      27 Feb 2013 10:02 am
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    • Bob Douglas

      and perhaps we should be making more noise about UST’s first electric vehicle which is not a stretch of the imagination but reality as of February ’12. One of the first recipients of Campus Sustainability Funds was an application by Paul Hietpas for a Columbia Mega Drop Sidetruck. It has been cruising around the campus running on pure electric power for a year now delivering packages for Central Receiving and picking up recycling for UST Recycling! We’re nowhere near the size nor do we have the resources of Google but we are heading in the right direction towards a sustainable campus.

      27 Feb 2013 11:02 am
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    • Roxanne Prichard

      As the resident UST sleep psychologist, I would strongly endorse purchasing nap pods or hammocks for a little afternoon shut eye. With the recent renovations to the MHC blue lagoon and commuter center, students have lost many of their ideal nap spots. For commuters who wake up before dawn to beat the traffic or stay for evening classes or late work shifts, not having a safe space to nap is more than an inconvenience- it’s a public health concern. Drowsy driving is responsible for 1/3 of all traffic fatalities in the United States, and young adults are among the sleepiest of them all.

      Try taking this Sleepiness Quiz: http://www.minnsleep.com/self_test.php Research predicts that about in in four employees and one in three students would have dangerous levels of day time tiredness. Let’s bring in the nap pods!

      27 Feb 2013 12:02 pm
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