Office Manager Interviews

Office Productivity Insights with Mal Rothstein of Google

Mal shares a few insights from her experiences at Google, the Learn What Matters Foundation, and the Watch Us Thrive Initiative


Mal Rothstein currently works at Google as an Administrative Business Partner in People Development where she supports three executives with executing their team’s business operations and activities, often making magic happen.

Google People Development
Mal Rothstein, Administrative Business Partner in People Development at Google

She is also focused on building Learn What Matters and the Learn What Matters Foundation, a movement that looks to impact millions of young people’s lives by helping them invest in their personal development. In addition to her busy schedule, she is in the midst of launching Watch Us Thrive, an initiative to highlight a global community of Administrative Assistants who are thriving in their careers.

We took a few moments out of her day to learn about her expertise in office productivity, organization, and company culture.


As an Administrative Business Partner in People Development at Google, what’s one piece of advice you’d give someone in a similar role to stay organized and productive?

Take the time to think through and develop an effective system to manage your email.

When I started at Google, that was the first piece of advice from one of my coworkers and it saved me. Here’s how I manage my email: There’s my inbox, a starred folder for any action items, and a reading folder that’s for anything non-urgent that I can handle or read later. Every morning I go through my inbox and quickly sort each email into my starred or reading folder before I even answer any of them. Then once they are all sorted from my inbox, I go through my starred folder items followed by my reading items. I archive all emails that don’t have any action items left for me, even if I’m waiting on a reply from someone else. This way I don’t feel overwhelmed by the amount of emails since I usually get a couple hundred a day.

My system works wonders for me but I know it won’t work for everyone. Experiment and figure out what’s best for you. I promise it will save you a ton of inbox anxiety and make you more productive in the long run.

You’re passionate about supporting people and helping them grow; this can be seen through your various initiatives with Learn What Matters and Watch Us Thrive. What’s one piece of advice you have for organizations that are looking to build a supportive and collaborative workplace culture?

Create lasting unique traditions that bring your employees together and design an office space that will make everyone excited to come to work.

I learned how powerful those two elements can be when I interned while in college at the non-profit, DoSomething.Org. DoSomething.org’s fun and embracing culture was the biggest reason I wanted to intern there.

Check out their Culture Book to learn more about some of their traditions and fun elements of their office layout that have helped to create their culture.

Google employees have access to many interesting perks and benefits. What simple perks and benefits would you recommend to smaller companies on limited budgets?

I’d suggest to any smaller company to first survey their employees on what perks and benefits they’d prefer the most. What might be important to your team might be different from anything research suggests or what other companies say works for their employees.

Some simple perks and benefits I’ve seen excite people the most in places I’ve interned or worked at before include having paid time-off on your birthday, ability to work from home once a week, flexible working hours, dog friendly offices, and hosted lunch-and-learns, talks, or workshops with industry leaders (often people within the C-Suite’s network so there is no or low cost).


If you’d like to learn more about Mal and the initiatives she’s working on, you can find her at @ilearnwithmal / @watchusthrive on Instagram or email her at watchusthrivenow[at]gmail[dot]com

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