Last year, Google realized that its employees were eating too much free candy — M&Ms, specifically. So the company conducted a little experiment, and carefully tracked the results. Cecilia Kang, writing in the Washington Post, summaries:
What if the company kept the chocolates hidden in opaque containers but prominently displayed dried figs, pistachios and other healthful snacks in glass jars? The results: 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.
The company has conducted similar experiments in an effort to reduce consumption of sugary drinks and encourage employees to consume less calories in the company’s cafeterias. “With a company as big as Google, you have to start small to make a difference. We apply the same level of rigor, analysis and experimentation on people as we do the tech side,” says Jennifer Kurkoski, a member of Google’s HR team.