Google Work-Life Balance (WLB) Demystified
Google has tried to set itself apart from other tech companies and has even been called a “playground for grownups.” But does the work-life balance at Google live up to the hype? Let’s take a closer look at life at Google and check out some potential alternatives if you’re prioritizing work-life balance in 2022.
4 min read
27 Dec, 2021
With more employees reporting burnout than ever before, work-life balance is an important part of building a productive career in the long run. But for people in tech, this can be difficult to achieve. The fast-paced tech industry is notorious for demanding long hours and creating competitive-driven workplaces.
Google has tried to set itself apart from other tech companies and has even been called a "playground for grownups." But does the work-life balance at Google live up to the hype? Let’s take a closer look at life at Google and check out some potential alternatives if you’re prioritizing work-life balance in 2022.
Why Work for Google?
Work life at Google seems idyllic according to Glassdoor reviews from real employees. Software engineers at Google ranked the company an overall 4.5 out of 5, which is impressively high. Of the different categories surveyed, all received average ratings of 4.4 or above:
- Overall: 4.5
- Culture: 4.5
- Work-life balance: 4.4
- Compensation and benefits: 4.6
- Career opportunities: 4.4
In particular, Google shines when it comes to compensation and benefits. Of top tech companies, Google has the highest entry level salary for software engineers at $191k. It also offers a high senior software engineer ($357k) and great value for its benefits package ($17k). Google’s array of excellent benefits include:
- Generous vacation policy of three paid weeks.
- Flexible hours and remote-friendly hybrid work policy.
- A+ company culture, with values such as transparency and creativity.
- Support of long-shot and personal projects.
- Mental health counseling and other benefits.
- On-site child-care services.
These are just a handful of Google’s numerous benefits that may appeal to employees.
Overview of the Google Employee Lifestyle
Though life at Google will vary greatly depending on the department, team and individual, surveys show an overwhelming positive experience. Of course, the tech world is naturally fast-paced and Google is no exception. Googlers have mentioned that deadlines can be tight and expectations are high, though the company culture lets you decide how to get the work done.
Would you like a 4 day work week?
Great culture: A+
According to Comparably reviews, the company culture at Google falls in the top 5% with a rating of A+. This is true across all departments, except for Operations which rated culture as an A.
This comes at no surprise, since Google offices are known for their unique approach to company culture, including fun and games of all kinds. Besides free meals and use of gyms, Googlers can enjoy video games, nap pods, mini-golf and more – right from the office.
Google is also quite team-based and employees connect often during breaks. In fact, 60% of Googlers take at least 45 minutes for lunch, which shows the flexibility of working hours.
Good work-life balance: B
In addition, Google has a solid score in work-life balance. Software engineers rated it as a B, which is even higher than other departments. Working hours may play the biggest role in lowering work-life balance scores, with Googlers frequently working late hours and weekends.
Work life at Google may also seem quite competitive, depending on your team and manager. This may also drive the work ethic and high expectations at the company as a whole.
Work-life Balance According to Line of Work
Life at Google may look quite different depending on your line of work. For example, engineers and sales employees rate Google work-life balance as a B, but operations employees rate it as a D+. That’s a wide range of possible experiences.
If you’re working for design, product or marketing, you may experience a more middle-ground rating of C+. Though Google work-life balance is rated higher than most other tech companies, it may not be the WLB found in departments such as sales and engineering.
Typical Google Working Hours
According to surveys by Comparably, Google working hours can be strenuous. Work time varies, but 44% of Googlers work 10+ hours on average.
The good news is that 70% of Googlers report being satisfied with work-life balance, even though their hours may be longer than a typical 40-hour work week. However, 48% report feeling burnout at work, so the issue of working hours may still be a pressing one.
Remember that Google working hours are also a factor of your role, current project and priorities as an individual. Because Google is performance-based, you won’t necessarily have to deal with long hours if you can meet milestones within an 8-hour workday. This depends largely on your manager and team.
Googlers with more experience also report a worse work-life balance. In particular, employees with 6-10 years of experience report the lowest Google work-life balance score of C-. For this reason, senior employees or managers at Google may face more complications in meeting expectations during an 8-hour workday.
What Do Employees Say About WLB at Google?
That said, the opinions about Google work life vary greatly. To give you a sense of Google work-life balance, check out these comments from Google employees:
"The environment in the office is amazing. Everybody’s supportive and wants to see you win. The pay is phenomenal and really gives people a chance to change their lives. You just have to be willing to put in the effort to make a change." -Anonymous
"Work/life balance. What balance? All those perks and benefits are an illusion. They keep you at work and they help you to be more productive." -Anonymous
"Lots of new technology to learn from, but a very fast work environment and difficult to balance work/life." -Anonymous
"Unfortunately, the management experience and work-life balance can vary GREATLY based on your org, team, job title, etc." -Anonymous
Consider Alternatives for a Better Work-Life Balance
Life at Google may be the best of both worlds: a top company culture, with a work-life balance that the majority of Googlers are happy with. However, your experience will depend on a variety of factors, including your team and personal priorities.
If you’re struggling to strike a work-life balance at Google, you have other options. Besides simply resigning, you could look into other jobs with greater flexibility. To attract better talent and promote work-life balance, some companies are offering 4-day work weeks. Amazingly enough, 4-day work weeks can improve your productivity in the long run.
Sound like paradise? Hundreds of companies have open positions for 4-day roles. Check out opportunities from companies such as Bolt, Tulip, PDQ, Headspace, Buffer, Dockwa, Atom and more. With a 4-day work week, you can take control of your work-life balance and achieve your personal and professional goals in 2022.