Lessons on employee wellness from Google

Employee wellness must be a top priority among healthcare leaders, and they can take inspiration from an unlikely source: Google, according to a MedPageToday blog post.

Much like the Disney Corporation, despite being outside the healthcare sector, Google has much to teach the hospital industry, writes Rajasree Pai, M.D., a Eureka, California-based endocrinologist. At the tech giant's California headquarters, the cafeteria offers primarily low-fat, low-carb, high-fiber options, as well as organic dairy products and considerations such as balsamic vinegar in place of ranch dressing, according to the post.

Google also offers incentives for physical activity, Pai writes, giving bicycles to employees to travel on office grounds and to and from work, as well as access to an on-campus gym, organic vegetable farms and nap boards. Pai described the employees he saw as appearing relaxed and healthy.

In contrast, Pai said, employees he saw in hospital cafeterias were commonly overweight or obese, with food options limited to unhealthy choices, such as chicken wings or macaroni and cheese, which are often handled unhygienically.

It is unacceptable, Pai writes, for the healthcare sector to lag behind in promoting employee wellness. Healthy cafeteria options and on-site employee gyms should be "as mandatory as restrooms," he writes.

Many providers already take steps to promote healthier living, such as the more than 400 hospitals that joined the Partnership for a Healthy America, pledging to take steps such as eliminating deep fat fryers and increasing produce options, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

Other providers focus on the physical activity aspect, such as El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, California, which spurred employees to lose a total of more than 1,000 pounds through gamification, or the use of game-like strategies in non-game situations, according to FierceHealthcare.

To learn more:
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