Corporate Cookery

How Google Keeps Its Employees From Getting Fat

Eat your spinach, Googlers!
Eat your spinach, Googlers! Photo: Google

We’ve all heard the envy-enducing stories about Google’s cafeteria and how every employee gets their own personal chef or whatever, but now a new piece in Fast Company reveals the company’s efforts to curb wanton candy-snacking and such — even if there are still bottomless bins full of M&Ms; everywhere.

So how is Google doing it? An HR division at the company (dubbed “People Analytics”) has started putting up passive-aggressive signs in the cafeteria that say things like “taking a bigger plate will cause you to eat x-percent more,” and they claim that this has “nudged” more employees to take smaller plates.

Also, the first thing you see when you walk in to their various cafeterias is the salad bar, a move that’s based on research claiming people tend to load up on whatever they see first. Meanwhile, the desserts are shuffled off to the back, and are all meant to be consumed in three bites.

As for those M&M; bins, the company tried switching to opaque plastic bins in the New York City office, and somehow the People Analytics department has determined that the switch led to a “9 percent drop in caloric intake from candy in just one week” — exactly the kind of specific, Big Brother-y statistic you’d expect Google to track.

6 Ways Google Hacks Its Cafeterias So Googlers Eat Healthier [Fast Company]
Earlier: Former Google Cafeteria Chefs Find Catering Success Among S.F. Startups

How Google Keeps Its Employees From Getting Fat