Companies like Google, Facebook etc. are famous for offering all kind of services like gyms, cinemas, hair dresser, music concerts and so on, so that employees don't have to leave the campus.

But I've never heard that they offer bedrooms at the campus, did I just miss that point and if not do you have an idea why they leave that part out of the service?

closed as primarily opinion-based by gnat, Dukeling, bharal, Dmitry Grigoryev, Adam V Oct 19 at 15:08

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    Conversely I'm wondering why you think they would? – Roy Oct 18 at 15:06

11 Answers 11

Laws

Buildings where people sleep have different laws than buildings where people work. Buildings where many people sleep, while these people don't live there (most of these are called hotels), again have a different set of laws. This introduces unknown consequences if laws are accidentally broken and can make it significantly more expensive or even impossible/illegal to introduce bedrooms in existing facilities.

Image

While some people would see beds as a perk, others would see it as a red flag. The ability to conveniently pull an all-nighter isn't what most employees are specifically looking for in their new company.

Control

An hour of afternoon sleep is great, but with the honor system you still have strong peer pressure if people start and end at somewhat similar times. If people can just disappear to sleep whenever they want, management might worry that the impact of that peer pressure lessens.


Of course these reasons are not sufficient to stop companies from actually offering what you ask for.

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    The "control" aspect does not seem relevant to me: You can use the same mechanism (clocking in / out, trust system etc.) that you already use. Otherwise a good answer. – sleske Oct 18 at 13:54
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    @Peter To add to your "image" point, the kinds of companies that had employees live "on-campus" have historically been the likes of the Dutch East India company, colonial rail roads, and others involved in borderline (if not fully literal) slavery. Not the kind of company most "hip" tech places want to keep. – mbrig Oct 18 at 17:38
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    Not clear why "laws" is on the list here. Buildings that have chemical laboratories have different laws than buildings that don't. Buildings that contain manufacturing have different laws than buildings that don't. My point is that if a company decides a particular type of building is needed, they'll find a lawful way to make it happen. The fact that a company would have to adhere to a different set of rules to erect a building that people sleep is not a reason why they don't do it. – Nuclear Wang Oct 18 at 19:20
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    @NuclearWang It probably is a reason. If a company wants to work with chemicals they have to work out how to adhere to the chemical laws. They can't just choose to not have chemicals (although they probably keep the chemicals in a subset of buildings to save effort!) If a company wants to work with tech, they don't have to work out how to adhere to the hotel laws, they can just choose not to be a hotel. – immibis Oct 18 at 21:37
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    @NuclearWang Some of the relevant laws would be zoning laws, which restrict the use of parcels of property. Thus, it's not just that they might need to meet certain building codes, based on use. It's quite possible that the desired use is not permitted in the location where the company has their buildings. Obviously, that doesn't mean that they could not find both a parcel and building that permits the desired use, just that doing so would significantly decrease options and increase expense. – Makyen Oct 19 at 5:23

There's many reasons for this, broadly divided into the points of view of the employee and the employer

Reasons why employees don't want it

Not having to leave work to go do something when you'd otherwise be willing to return to work afterwards is a benefit. Especially when it is for things that would typically have more restictive opening hours such as hairdressers.

A full night's sleep however is rather different - many people prefer to sleep in their own bed for one and for another when you start sleeping at the office it pretty much translates to you living at work. You don't get to see your partner, or your kids, or your pets (assuming you have any of those things). All the supporting materials and/or people for your leisure activities tend to be at or near home (not the office), as do things like your clothes.

Reasons why employers don't want it

The obvious one being here why provide a 'perk' that your employees don't want and will make limited use of at best? Bedrooms take up a lot of space, aren't cheap to fit out (not if you want them to be more appealing than your average homeless shelter). Not to mention of course the ongoing service costs - you need to repair/replace furntiure when it wears out, you need to employ cleaners to clean the rooms, laundry costs for the bedding and so on.

Even aside from that however there are reasons why it's not a beneficial thing from the employer's point of view:

  • Depending upon jurisdiction if you're offering facilities that could actually be classified as "bedrooms" (as opposed to just somewhere comfy to take a nap say) then you start opening the company up to all sorts of regulatory requirements (fire safety, zoning/planning permission). And in some locales if an employee spends enough time there they can start claiming things like squatter's rights. It's a mess.

  • If employees aren't getting any proper decompression time and/or they are getting poorer quality sleep from not being at home then productivity will drop - short-sighted employers may not consider this but good ones will.

  • It implies an unpleasant expectation on potential employees - most people if they went for a job where one of the 'perks' was "we have fully featured, 3-star equilivent bedrooms on site" would hear an unspoken implication that the company expected them to be there 24 hours a day! I think a lot of very good candidates would run like hell at that point.

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    Another reason the company doesn't want employees actually living on campus - because they'll begin delaying their departure time since work is so close. They may begin sleeping in, or lose track of time doing other leisure activities in their "home" and not worry about it since "it only takes ten minutes to get there." Of course there are some employees who will do these things no matter where they live, but why spend time & money setting up an environment to encourage these people (and tempt others)? – Steve-O Oct 18 at 14:25
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    @Steve-O as counter-intuitive as it might sound on the surface I think this is a real thing - I've never been so regularly late as when I lived ~5mins away from work. – motosubatsu Oct 18 at 14:28
  • @Steve-O but then again you would save a lot of travelling time that you actually could spend with stuff that would otherwise delay you. – Darkwing Oct 18 at 15:50
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    Squatter's rights only apply to living somewhere without permission. Living there with permission invokes tenant rights, which is its own (very different) can of worms. – Mark Oct 18 at 22:37

There is a very nice hotel just outside my office. Two minutes walk. And a pizza place even closer.

If there ever was an emergency where my boss needed me (not wanted me) to work until twelve, and return to work at 7am, he could pay for a break at 8pm involving pizza, and for a hotel room with breakfast. Most companies would be in a similar situation. And if the company is somewhere like the middle of London, where hotel rooms are expensive, keeping a bedroom would be very expensive.

I can't see any place operating in a way that employees would regularly stay overnight, so having bedrooms is completely pointless. Bigger places usually have an agreement with some hotel nearby that they can use for oversea visitors, for example. Much cheaper and much more pleasant than a bedroom. I've known one company that owned a few apartments for that purpose.

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    Yeah. Don't know why was downvoted. I've experienced that same at a previous employer. During very large projects that could take a weekend (or longer) and we were working for a long time they either provided a block of hotel rooms nearby or had cots setup for quick naps. This was not a regular occurance. – JimmyB Oct 18 at 13:34
  • One family member (in the US) currently has an employer that will pay for the near-by hotel if there is a weather emergency and employees either cannot get home or if they might not be able to get back to work by their next shift. The hotel is within walking distance even in bad weather. Much easier than providing a 24x7 set of bedrooms on-prem. – Doug O'Neal Oct 18 at 16:22
  • I've been involved in an organisation with it's head office down in London and regularly having people stay overnight. They, too, have an arrangement with a hotel rather than having bedrooms. – Algy Taylor Oct 18 at 16:26
  • Re downvoter... Someone doesn't like pizza? Or someone's envious? – Criggie Oct 18 at 19:17
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    The "down voter" complaint was because when three answers were posted with 0 points initially, all three were downvoted within ten seconds. @bharat 7am to 2am is ridiculous. And if the company wants me to work extreme hours, but doesn't want me enough to pay for a hotel, then it can't be urgent, so I'm not working. – gnasher729 Oct 19 at 6:41

I agree with most of the existing answers, but I think one important factor that hasn't been mentioned is the possible effects on sexual harassment/misconduct. Sexual harassment has been a very hot topic recently and many companies try to make an effort to avoid even having offices with no windows, to provide an atmosphere of openness, transparency and a feeling of safety for staff.

Imagine what the impact in this area might be, if a company actually installed bedrooms in their office? Could it possibly make incidents of sexual harassment, assault or workplace affairs more likely? And if they were to occur, could there be a liability angle - could it be argued that by having bedrooms, the company was helping to facilitate such behavior? It seems to me there could be come serious risks there.

Some do.

They don't offer "bedrooms" - for many of the reasons provided here.

But they offer quiet rooms, or nap rooms - which offer a quiet, private place to rest. If we think of the primary role of the bedroom to be sleep - then they do offer options.

The rooms are generally not a bed/dresser/alarm clock - like a hotel - but more a couch or cot, and not much else - I suspect adding the complexity of blankets and laundry is something most companies don't want to get into.

  • "Wellness Room" seems to be a buzzword for this in 2018. – Criggie Oct 18 at 19:18
  • Good point. Most of the other answers haven't noticed that these bedrooms already exist in many companies and in some countries it is even requirement to have them. – kukis Oct 19 at 10:03

So this does happen, but not often in the technology industry.

Others have good answers for why tech shouldn't provide these spaces. I would generally agree that it sends the wrong message to current employees and candidates and creates other potential liabilities (planning/zoning, innkeeper laws, renter laws, adverse possession, harassment, and others). Many companies do this in spite of these risks, but for different reasons.

Worksite living facilities are provided for employees where they have to have periods of time away from home and a bona fide need to do so. I knew a person who went into Oil and Gas and had an arrangement that essentially amounted to 6 weeks onsite and 6 weeks offsite regularly rotating. Full living facilities and logistics were provided onsite, but the definition of onsite changed periodically (as engineering work finished with that particular location). These were also remote locations, but campus locations were generally smaller and the worksites were geographically distributed.

Other industries, namely construction and military offer similar situations, particularly for remote locations. It all really depends on what you are trying to do with your location and why you need onsite employees and what services make sense from a cost/benefit perspective to provide onsite.

Universities provide onsite housing, but this is more of a renter/tenant situation.

Aside from this, many larger companies are known for owning or renting space reasonably close to their locations for purposes of providing traveling employees a place to stay (or even live), but few would regard this as a perk. It might be more common at the executive level than the level of a regular employee, but arguably higher level positions have more entanglement of personal/business affairs and the risks for common employees (ex. what happens to your house in an at-will employment separation?) are more muted or have already been negotiated as part of the employment agreement.

Generally speaking, the technology industry doesn't have a rational reason to provide this. Other "perks" might be seen as part of the "culture," but basic living facilities aren't seen as a perk.

There are a few reasons for this and have been briefly covered in the comments.

1) Not many employees would want to sleep at work. People have families, outside lives and not to mention it would be unhealthy to spend all your time at work. Work/Life balance is important especially in a mentally demanding job.

2) Costs. To implement bedrooms will have added costs e.g; electricity, heating etc... As well as this, companies will have to make room for these 'bedrooms' which is a huge cost in itself.

The reason there are Nap pods is to refresh the brain, give the employee a 5-15 minute rest before getting back to work. There was a scientific study that proved that this increases productivity explained Here

Companies like Google, Facebook etc. are famous for offering all kind of services like gyms, cinemas, hair dresser, music concerts and so on, so that employees don't have to leave the campus.

All of these have benefits to the company as well. Although not obvious, doing exercise daily helps lead a healthy lifestyle which helps reduce stress and improve concentration. The health benefits of working out are endless.

Relaxation such as cinema's and music are helped to relax the brain to make the employee feel like they are not at work in which is said to help improve productivity and the social aspect helps develop relationships between employees.

Company Town

History has been down this path already.

It didn't go so well.

  • The good ones did go well, at least in the UK, though they were called model villages ("model" as in "high quality", not as in "miniature") not company towns. See the links here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Model_villages. There were certainly historical abuses where employees were paid with tokens that could only be spent in the company store, but that's a different issue, and not likely to be replicated today in any case. – alephzero Oct 19 at 11:49
  • @alephzero I'd argue that, even without company script, this practice is feudalism, albeit an opt-out flavor in which you can at least theoretically move to a new province and be out from under the yolk of your master. Your 'lord' controls where you live, how much the consumer class of the entire province is paid, the local laws and security, which economic actors are present in your province, etc, etc. That is way too much control to surrender to any entity without elected representation as a mitigating control on the abuse of power. – Iron Gremlin Oct 19 at 18:11

The objective of these services is to keep you working more than 40 hours without being "forced" to do so. You're just compelled or self-obligated to do so voluntarily. Take a little nap at 5 to finish that big project instead of going home for the night, and so on to get you into that sort of mindset to always want to work for the company or keep them on your mind.

I think by adding a living quarter, they're effectively recreating modern day Company Town where employees will be exploited to do work for the company. My thought is there are all sorts of legal and ethical reasons they wouldn't do this.

Beyond all the other reasons listed here: cost.

Building housing in the San Francisco Bay Area, where these companies are based (they, of course, have offices all over the world as well), is quite expensive. The per-unit cost of a 100-unit affordable housing project in California is over $425,000.

That cost could potentially be reduced a little in this case. It's possible the company already owns the land (though it won't be zoned for residential use). They can build microapartments and fit more in the same space. They could avoid building actual apartments entirely, figuring that the food and other amenities on campus are sufficient to not bother with kitchens (though they'd have to staff them up more on weekends and holidays), and build dorms instead. That would require approval from the local government (which won't be forthcoming), as local building codes are designed to stop you from doing that. And if you do manage to build a dorm instead of real apartments, you have a building no landlord is going to want to buy if your company ever wants to get out of the housing business.

As a comparison, consider the new MBA student housing that Stanford University recently built, which comes with the sort of design and amenities tech workers are likely to want: 202 units for $75 million, or $371,287/unit, and Stanford already owned the land. Plus you have to pay property tax on the place, maintain it, staff and service it, etc... The monthly costs, assuming you want to pay the thing off after a few decades, aren't going to be that much lower than the $2,600/mo average rent for a studio apartment vaguely in the area.

In other words, housing for employees costs radically more than cafeterias and haircuts.

Tech companies will rent corporate housing for their employees as needed (it's rather expensive), generally for a limited period of time when employees relocate, internships, and other circumstances. That said, Google has made inquiries into modular housing, which could might construction costs low enough to make a significant difference, and presumably will continue to consider whether the math works out.

A lot of interesting answers but I have a simple one: The law (in the US) says that if you sleep at work, a company has to pay you for it. This has long been established. If you ever go on the road for work the company picks up the tab for the hotel, right? Here is one simple case study, I'm sure there are others.

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    The example you cite is different. In that example, it is about a time when employee has no assigned work, and the waiting time would be appropriate to sleep. But I think this question is about an employee postponing already assigned work for a nap. – Krumia Oct 19 at 2:38

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