In a now-viral TikTok video, Ken Waks shared how free meals or free shuttle services are actually insidious ways tech companies nudge employees to work longer hours.
Like many new-age tech companies, Google is infamous for offering its employees numerous perks that may be unavailable in traditional workspaces. From free meals to free commute transport, Google ensures its workers have everything they need. However, one former employee has claimed that these perks are actually an insidious way for the company to encourage its team members to work more. This is because they are developed in such a way to keep employees at the office and make sure they are productive during their working hours. According to Ken Waks, these benefits blur the boundaries between work and home. He claimed he would have rather received a higher salary in place of these perks, Bored Panda reports.
Waks shares his two cents in a now-viral TikTok video. Some of the "dark reasons" behind free and amazing perks that offices around the world grant their workers include, for example, free meals every day. He states in his video, "At Google, you get three square meals a day for free. But dinner would start at 6 pm or 6:30 pm, so you had to stay late working to get the free food." He also comments on the free bus shuttle services. "They would start at 6 in the morning, they would run home till 10 pm at night," he reveals. "And they had WiFi on them, so you would work while on the shuttle."
Furthermore, Waks was even allowed to bring his dog to work when he was employed at Google. He states, "I love that you can bring your dog to the office and that the offices are dog friendly, but in reality, they did that so you would not leave the office to go take care of your dog." Unfortunately, this is not just a problem at Google. Several tech companies engage in similar behavior. For example, at Yelp, Waks had access to baristas who would make coffee for him and other employees, as well as tons of snacks. He notes, "And I asked my director, though, why do I not earn commission until I book $12,000 in sales every month?"
The former Google employee has thus encouraged companies and employees alike to pay a higher salary than offer these perks. For instance, during the pandemic, workers in the United Kingdom racked up an estimated £35 billion (or $46 billion) in unpaid overtime each year. It could have been possible that "free perks" led to this phenomenon. "It’s very interesting. It’s kind of like you live, breathe, and die it," he shared in an interview with Bored Panda. "Some people may want that. Me? I kind of like the idea of being able to close my laptop at the end of the day and being like, ‘I’ll see you tomorrow.'" Presently, Waks works as a technical manager at a Fortune One startup based in San Francisco. Like many other firms, his employer called for workers to return to the office. Nonetheless, he was able to convince his employer that working remotely would not affect his productivity. He reaffirmed, "What did I want from a workplace? To be able to leave work, close my laptop, and not have it follow me around [all day]."