I’m like you: I love it when I can help a gigantic corporation save money. That’s why I’m offering Google the use of my stapler. I’ll throw in a tape dispenser, too. It will cost me a pretty penny to provide staples and tape to a company with 187,000 employees, all taping and stapling like crazy, but, really, it’s the least I can do.
If you’re wondering why Google needs staplers and tape dispensers, ask the company’s CFO, Ruth Porat. According to a post on CNBC’s website, the CFO recently put out a memo explaining that staplers and tape dispensers will “no longer be provided to print stations companywide.”
“If you need a stapler or tape,” the shocked and bereft employees were assured, “the reception desk has them to borrow.”
At a reasonable fee, one assumes, relative to the Blue Book value of the stapler, and adjusting for depreciation.
Staplergate is only one of the cutbacks in employee services CFO Porat has launched as part of a “company-wide OKR on durable savings through improved velocity and efficiency.”
“All PAs and Functions are working toward this,” she explained. (At the risk of being churlish, I might suggest that one way to reach some pretty darn impressive velocity is to cut down on acronyms. I lost three productive hours before I figured out that PAs were Product Areas and OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results. I guess, I should have Googled it.)
If you are so foolish as to the think that the company’s decision in January to cut 6% of its workforce — a mere 12,000 jobs — would be sufficient to keep Google from maxing out its corporate credit cards, or taking away its employee’s staplers, you’d be wrong.
The company is also cutting back on muffins.
“We’ve baked too many muffins on Monday,” confessed the company’s real estate and workplace team.
How it is possible to have too many muffins is beyond me, especially when they’re offered free to employees. I suspect the problem is with the muffin. If I’ve told Google once, I’ve told them a thousand times: A zucchini-chard muffin is never going to fly, even if it’s gluten-free.
(Some high-level corporate advice for Google: triple chocolate chunk with sprinkles.)
Before Google takes away their employee’s chairs, pencils and shoelaces, let me suggest a few cost-cutting concepts the company has not considered… yet.
No. 1: Reuse those staples
In January, as part of the company’s austerity plan, Google “let go more than two dozen on-site massage therapists.” Accustomed to manipulating the contours and complexities of the human body, massage therapists have the dexterity required to remove and re-bend used staples. It’s a lot of work for these new-age blacksmiths, but it could save the company from reverting to a true cost suck: the dreaded paper clip.
No. 2: Deeper cuts in the technology budget
Under the new rules, Google will be temporarily “pausing refreshes for laptops, desktop PCs and monitors.” The pause should be permanent, since recent advances in computers have really not made a significant difference in productivity. I have a steam-powered laptop and it works just fine.
In addition, employees can no longer “expense mobile phones if one is available internally.” Personally, I think phones should be discontinued altogether. For the cost of a stamp, employees can write letters to one another. Or, if in the same office space, just yell. The cacophony arising from such a policy could be challenging, but let’s face it: Earplugs are a lot cheaper than phones.
Finally, an employee must get “director or above approval if they need an accessory that costs more than $1,000 and isn’t available internally.” The result of this decision is obvious. Knuckle-headed managers will be buying $999 hot tubs, which will result in higher medical costs for treating the effects of over-soaking.
No. 3: Rename the company
The most wasteful aspect of Google is the second “o” in its name. By renaming the company “Gogle,” the savings in making signs and printing T-shirts should be enough to save the company from a financial meltdown, at least until the next round of layoffs.
No matter how the savings are achieved, I suspect that money generated from these efforts will be applied toward the development of Google’s new artificial intelligence product, Bard. The fact that this suggestion comes directly from Google’s new artificial intelligence product, Bard, may worry some people, but I think it’s worth the effort.
Just remember: When staplers are outlawed, only outlaws will have staplers.
Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at [email protected]. To find out more about Bob Goldman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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