Quoted: But do sweatshops offer massages? On perks in Silicon Valley

“When you look at how some of these companies operate, they’re in effect, sweat shops. … They want 80, 90, 100 hours of work. In order to even make that tolerable, of course you have to offer haircuts and food and places to sleep or else people would have to go home.”

Kevin Wheeler of the Future of Talent Institute, a human resources consultant for Silicon Valley companies, on the perks offered by Google, Facebook and others. The perks, including free food and transportation, nap pods and places to play and relax, are often mentioned. But the Associated Press points out that many Silicon Valley tech companies are making upgrades galore, such as new headquarters or expansions, as they compete for talent. Perks in the workplace have also been in the spotlight after Yahoo  announced last month that it is requiring its workers to come in to the office. The move has been criticized, but it was preceded by offering free food at the company’s Sunnyvale headquarters, and there are reports of other efforts to improve the work site.


Photo by Jeff Chiu/Associated Press: Google software engineer Jiang Chen campus sits in a massage chair at the Googleplex in Mountain View.


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  • It’s amazing what employees can tolerate when they are well paid. It’s the old “no pain – no gain” argument. What works best is when companies and employees can achieve a balance between effort and reward, creativity and control, etc. We have the tools to make this happen.