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Workplace Wellness: Google This

Why do companies care about employee wellness?

The view from my window is Silicon Valley – and the job market is hot.  If you’ve been working for companies like Google, Facebook, Intel or Intuit, you have recruiters pinging you on the daily.  And while the jobs at these tech household names are usually pretty well paid, they tend towards the stressful.  So… to answer the question above, while there is altruism around having a healthy workplace, let’s be frank and say that anything that adds to employee retention makes good sense.

Since I’ve been fortunate to work inside the above-mentioned tech household name as a yoga teacher this last decade, let me share my observations on what they do well.

Google’s Workplace Wellness Program

Full caveat – I am but a humble 1099 part of the Google wellness program, but in addition to the published benefits, I can comment on the things that are effective and inspiring parts at the ground eye level.

Yes, the food.

The free food, and the dangers of the “Google 15” are appreciated by W2 and 1099 alike.  Its really great to have fresh, creative and inspiring options.  The urge to binge does fade, but the spirit is lifted and comradery does bring people away from their desks for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The initiatives.

Each month the wellness and benefits staff confer around a single mission to care for the workforce.  Sometimes it’s seasonal (beginning the new year with health-oriented initiatives, the month of daylight savings change focusing on sleep sufficiency); and other times its around life events (tax season, summer vacation months.)  Getting the caretakers of the company aligned looks very effective and feels very effective.


In addition to bringing in certified experts in wellness (like me) there is a program that encourages Googlers to build teams among themselves – leading to people challenging themselves (I’ve talked several of my yoga students into getting their certifications) and to try out leadership roles outside the normal swim lanes. (ex; leading the bike teams to train for group events.)

Who has the best wellness program in Silicon Valley?

Would it surprise you to learn I’ve decided to profile the ones that I’ve experienced (as an employee who sits at a desk and in freezing conference rooms.)  Stay tuned for more, and please leave a comment below if you have questions or comments to share!