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Truly living at work: Google employees camp out in parking lot

Truly living at work: Google employees camp out in parking lot
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

There's long been that old adage about living at work. It usually means that you are so busy that you were going in early, staying late. Apparently, some Google employees at the technology giant main campus in Mountain View, California, did not get that memo.

Yep, they actually lived there (and some still do).

Is it the love of their job? Could it be the on-campus perks are just too great to leave? Or is it just too expensive to rent a place nearby on a new hire's salary?

Matt Weaver, the first guy to live there long-term, explained, "Originally it began as a dare." To think the young man lived in a camper in one of the parking lots for 54 straight weeks is jaw-dropping.

Google provides employees with pretty much everything

Google doesn't really encourage employees to camp out long-term in its parking lots. But it also does not have a policy that discourages it.

The company also happens to be known for providing an extensive list of perks and amenities to its employees. One reason is to attract the very best to work there. The other is to make sure they have enough good reasons to stay.

Matt Weaver simply made the most out of available resources. The cafeteria offers three meals per day so he could eat. There are showers at the on-campus gym. There are also foosball tables, pianos to play, ping pong tables, a place in the parking structure to work on personal projects, and there is even a free laundromat.

And to top it off, there is no policy against long-term squatting to alarm security or even get them involved. In fact, Weaver said that once they realized what he was doing, security actually helped watch his "camp" for him. Google was a different company in 2005 - a bit smaller and more personal.

New faces coming on the scene

People would approach Matt with questions about living at Google as they saw he had been doing it for awhile. He admits the only reason he moved out was the "weird factor" it created for the girls he was dating.

There have been a lot of short- and long-term residents on the Google campus, but nobody has kept track of the actual number. Though, Ben Discoe holds the record for a 60-week stretch through 2011 and 2012. He did so because he did not have the money to rent a place nearby. Occasionally, he would stay with the girlfriend he met after a few months at his new job but would go long stretches on campus because the perks were so attractive.

This story makes me want to glance inside all the cars parked in our lot. And maybe even buy a little camper. Goodbye, morning drive.

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