Every day you have a thousand decisions to make. From the time you wake up to the time you fall asleep you are making choices that will unconsciously affect your wellness. What if we told you that all of these decisions you think you’re making may actually be the result of some very subtle life-hacking?
Google is doing something fascinating at their headquarters in Silicon Valley. The geniuses at Google know that their cafeterias are a social hub for employees- after all, people bond over meals. Knowing that they cannot refuse to sell things like sodas and sweets in the cafeteria and that our choices influence those of our peers, Google has cleverly engineered healthier options to be more prominent in the buffet lines through the use of “Choice Architecture.” They’ve reduced the size of plates, increased the salad, fruit, vegetable and fish options (and made them yummier), and moved unhealthy foods and beverages into opaque bins and refrigerator drawers. Playing on the “out of sight, out of mind” idea, less healthy and nutrient-absent snacks were moved away from coffee machines, while fruit-infused water was prominently positioned around campus. By designing the way choices are presented to their employee consumers, Google can influence decisions and behaviors to drive the desired outcomes.
Sure, a tech-giant like Google has a seemingly endless budget for employee wellness. If your company’s pockets don’t run quite as deep, there are still plenty of options for you to affect change without dipping into the emergency fund.
It’s a matter of convenience. Making healthy options more easily-accessible and prevalent can spark real change in employee wellness. It doesn’t take a complete overhaul or a small fortune to engage employees in healthy behaviors- it just takes a bit of choice architecture.