Why Lavish Silicon Valley Perks Could Be Bad for Workers

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July 16 2013 3:38 PM

Why Lavish Silicon Valley Perks Could Be Bad for Workers

This post previously appeared on Business Insider.

By Alexandra Mondalek

Corporate perks that seem awesome may get in the way of work-life balance, according to management guru Jody Thompson.

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"These organizations that are creating these campuses where everything is there that you need, sleep there, dry-cleaning, work-out, day-care — everything’s at the office." Thompson tells Business Insider, citing Google as an example. "People look at that as, ‘Look at how progressive they are!' What they’re doing is they’re making it even more difficult for people to leave the office. Why would you? There’s everything you need right here!"

Google does in fact discourage telecommuting.

Thompson, who co-designed Best Buy's famously liberal and now defunct flexible work policy, said those perks aren't great for employers either.

'They’re getting further away from measurable results and more and more about how can we keep people here more. It looks like we’re doing nice things for you, but they’re wasting a lot of money in my opinion," says Thompson.

"If I could get my hands on Google, that’d be fun!" she added. 

Thompson created the Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE) with Cali Ressler, and the two women now run management consultancy CultureRX.

We've covered similar comments on office perks from post-Marxist theorist Slavoj Žižek. As summarized by architect Andrew Maynard:

Slavoj Žižek argues that modern employment tactics create the illusion that our employer is our friend. This fabrication empowers the employer while denying the employed the right to vocalize and protest dissatisfaction of their working conditions. “You’re not going to stick around and help out? I thought we were a team? I thought we were friends?”

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