How Google Used Simple Psychology to Promote Employee Wellness

One of the perks of working at Google is the cafeteria, but too much tasty food can be detrimental to employee health. To encourage workers to make better snack choices, Google implemented a wellness program based on the psychology of four P’s: process, persuasion, possibilities, and person.

  • Process: The arrangement of food can encourage healthier choices. Healthy options should be the first item on the menu, or placed on the middle tray. It should also be easily accessible: if it's inconvenient, employees are less likely to go for it.
  • Persuasion: Healthy food should be marketed as the more appealing option. For instance, you can put up a placard that reminds people “It takes two hours of walking to burn off the calories in a can of soda.”
  • Possibilities: Taking away employees’ food freedom can backfire, so keep the sweets, but offer less variety. You can also offer smaller portions of goodies; for instance, replace the bulk bin of M&Ms with fun-size packs.
  • Person: External influence can only get your employees so far, so help employees stay on track by offering a road map to wellness, and provide them resources (and reasons) to keep going.

Takeaway: If you want to encourage health and wellness at the office, make healthy food choices easier and more enticing. Combining this strategy with support and resources will help employees lead healthier lifestyles.


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