You don’t usually think that living literally at your job is the goal of many. But some do.
A former Google employee recounted how he lived on the firm’s Mountain View, California campus for 54 weeks between 2005 and 2006.
Matthew Weaver told the BBC that someone had challenged him to spend an entire year in a motor home parked within the company area.
He added that, although he believes he is the first to do so, other workers followed him later.
Both Google and other big tech companies are known for the added benefits they offer their employees.
«There were three meals a day in the cafeteria and there were showers in the gym, also on campus, so I would shower in the gym and eat in the office,» he recalled.
«There was a free laundry on campus, and there I washed my clothes.»
«There were all kinds of rooms with pianos, foosball tables, and this sort of thing, so I had enough to do when I took a break from work.»
«And we had places in the parking lot where I could work on my bike.»
«Security didn’t care»
The former employee, who worked under the enigmatic title of «staff site ecologist», explained that more than hiding his presence he made it very evident. For a time he put artificial grass and a wooden fence around his vehicle.
«Security didn’t care,» he added.
«This was in 2005 when Google was a much smaller and somewhat more cohesive company.»
«Once security knew it was me and they knew me, they basically watched the site.»
«I’m pretty sure I was the first. Towards the end of those 54 weeks and for the next two or three years people would come to ask me questions.»
«They’d say something like, ‘I’m thinking of living on campus, do you have any advice?’
Weaver said he was comfortable with the lifestyle but eventually moved on because the topic had become «weird» to explain to the girls he dated.
Weaver’s unusual residence rose to prominence after he posted some comments about his life on the Google campus on an online forum.
Another former employee of the same company also shared his experience of what it’s like to live on campus.
His stay was shorter but more recent.
Brandon Oxendine, who helped design the way Google profiles work, said that when he lived on campus between June and September 2012, he had to do it on the sly.
«A friend who had been at Google for five or six years told me that there is something in the company manual that says you are not allowed to be on campus for more than 72 hours, or something like that,» he said.
Oxendine slept on a mattress that she kept in a truck parked in the garage under the building where she worked.
«I told everyone that I had moved to San Francisco, but I always came in the same clothes from the garage,» he recalled.
Like his predecessor, he said there was never a need to go hungry.
«I think there is a kind of policy that Google has that no employee should be very far from a place to have a drink.»
«I worked a lot, so I never got bored … I loved it. I would love to do it again.»
60 week record
But the person who possibly holds the record for the longest duration on campus is Ben Discoe, who was based on his van parked for just over 60 weeks, during 2011 and 2012.
«But I cheated something,» he admits.
«I had a girlfriend who had an apartment in Mountain View, so I would go there sometimes.»
Discoe recalls that when he started working at Google there was an internal collaborative page called «Living on Google», which had been created by another worker.
«It listed the many additional benefits that there were, like free access to washing machines and this and that,» he told the BBC.
«The only thing they didn’t give you was shampoo. It said, ‘Maybe they’ll give you shampoo if the stock reaches $ 300.’ And then that was crossed out and it said ‘$ 400,’ and that was crossed out and it said ‘$ 500.’
«I think it’s about $ 1,200 now, and there’s no shampoo yet.»
Discoe added that Google provides its own resting places for workers, but that they are impractical for deep sleep.
«I was not going for ‘sleeping pods’. They had and still have a lot of hype … but for me it was as noisy as sleeping next to the desk.»
«And they ridiculed themselves a bit.»
Google declined to comment.
The BBC understands that the company does not encourage its employees to live in the workplace, but it is not something it actively fights against.
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