Sundar Pichai via Google+
Google is known for anticipating its employees' needs and provides free food, snacks, massages and yoga classes all to have a more productive workforce. But if employees are chowing down on too much junk food -- Google may step in -- like it did with Project M&M.
At Google, "almost every benefit is broken down into crunchable, poll-able or graphicable data, including salaries, the length of maternity leave, the size of the plates used at the food bar or even the squishy goal of workplace happiness," according to the Washington Post. So it's no surprise when Googlers were working late and chowing down on record numbers of M&Ms that Google took notice and launched a full-scale investigation.
It's unclear just how many M&Ms that is, but it apparently alarmed Google managers who worried it might be affecting office productivity. So a group of behaviorists pored over psychology papers and launched an experiment on how to change the way employees snacked. They decided to create more opaque containers for the candy and prominently displayed nuts and fruit in clear containers in hopes of changing behavior. According to the Post:
In the New York office alone, employees consumed 3.1 million fewer calories from M&Ms over seven weeks. That’s a decrease of nine vending machine-size packages of M&Ms for each of the office’s 2,000 employees.
Google did a similar experiment when it prominently displayed bottles of water and put sugary sodas on the bottom shelves, which led to a 47 percent increase in water drinking. However, the drop in the sugar-filled sodas was only a modest 7 percent. Googlers still wanted their sugar.
However, now that Google has partnered with KitKat for its latest Android platform launch, should they really stop their employees' love of sweets?