Google tops list of UK's best workplaces

The Great Place to Work Institute compiled its list based on employee surveys, and commended the search giant for retaining its start-up ethos and embedding its brand into all aspects of the organisation

At its Silicon Valley complex, it's famed for pampering staff with free food and more flavours of smoothie than there are colours in the rainbow, but Google employees closer to home can now feel smug as its London GooglePlex has been named best workplace in the UK.

Google topped the list of the 50 best workplaces in the UK, compiled by research and management consultancy The Great Place to Work Institute, which uses employee surveys to evaluate the level of trust between staff and their employers — so it's not just about bean bags and break-out areas.

With a passing mention to Google's 'stimulating and supportive environment' (allowing Segways in the office, for instance), the Institute commended Google for retaining its start-up ethos and embedding its brand into all aspects of the organisation — so much so that staff call themselves 'Googlers'.

It also highlighted the web behemoth's investment in staff development, via a 'Google University' and a European Learning and Development Team. Gifting every employee a bike last year to encourage staff fitness and highlight green issues also brought kudos.

Google was the only tech company to make the top 10 UK workplaces. Other IT companies in the rest of the list include search-engine optimisation business BigMouthMedia, tech support company IT Lab and server hosting company Rackspace.

'Don't be evil' failed to win the best large workplace in Europe gong, however: that honour went to Microsoft, with Google in second place and networking giant Cisco third.

Nikesh Arora, president of European operations at Google, said in a statement: "Of course, the lava lamps, free food, dogs at work: all have become famous symbols of the fun yet serious workplace we have built. But the challenge we set ourselves — of hiring the best possible people and giving them the chance to reach extraordinary achievements — is what makes Google such a special place to work."