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High productivity requirements eliminate 20% time according to sources

Google has always been famous for its employee perks. From childcare to naps to gourmet meals, many other companies have tried to copy Google's perks in an effort to lure in and retain employees. One of Google's most interesting perks is what the company called 20% time.

20% time allowed employees to take a single day each week to work on side projects. Google's 20% time sparked some of the company's biggest innovations including its huge moneymaker AdSense, Gmail, Google Talk, and Google News. While Google hasn’t officially killed 20% time, it has made changes that have all but eliminated 20% time from the Google culture.

Quartz reports that Google has effectively shut down 20% time by requiring that all engineers get approval from management to use 20% time to work on independent projects. Previously, 20% time was the right of everyone who worked at Google. Taking that a step further, upper management at Google has reportedly discouraged managers from approving any 20% projects at all.

Those managers are judged on team productivity, which is measured by an internal analytics team who keep an eye on employee productivity. Reports indicate that the level of productivity these teams are required to deliver assumes that all employees are working on primary responsibilities 100% of the time.

Google CEO Larry page killed off Google Labs, which fostered the development of experimental projects. Employees using their 20% time created many of those Google Labs projects. 

Source: Quartz

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By flyingpants1 on 8/19/2013 10:36:13 AM , Rating: 4
I was surprised to hear about Labs being shut down, and now this? From the sounds of it, they want to focus on revamping their current stuff rather than inventing new stuff. Why not just do both at the same time? Not like they are starved for resources. Where would they be today without AdSense?

RE: weird
By bug77 on 8/19/2013 11:19:05 AM , Rating: 2
There's more to it than this article. 20% time was a program for an era where Google was in need of ideas. Now it just happens that it has more ideas than it can handle.
It's a tricky situation because new ideas are what bring down established powerhouses, but I'm sure Google is smart enough to take this into account.

RE: weird
By quiksilvr on 8/19/2013 11:31:28 AM , Rating: 2
Regardless of company size and resources, it is always better to pool the resources towards improving and consolidating resources to avoid overlap and integrate varying software together.

For example, Messenger+, Hangouts, Google Talk, SMS/MMS and later on Google Voice are on their way to becoming just one app. But the path to there has not been a smooth one and is riddled with bugs and lost features. By limiting 20% time, they can bring more resources in to fix this current mess and ensure that an app as important as this one is up to par with the rest of their applications.

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