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Caring Company or Big Brother Watching?
By: Mike Bush
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A while back, I wrote about how using different angles, such as the perks your company offers, can lead to great coverage for your company and your clients.

Today, the Washington Post shows us the other side of the equation, showing how Google, the poster-child for awesome workplaces (seriously, the article mentions a desire to have no employee ever more than 200 feet away from free food), may be taking things to the extreme.

It seems as though Google is trying to trim some of the fat, so to speak, and is actively experimenting with ways to get their employees to eat fewer calories. Some examples include:
  • Making water bottles eye level and placing them behind clear glass, while putting soda lower and behind frosted glass
  • Trying different size plates to encourage people to use the smaller plate (and therefore, the smaller portion)
  • Stashing snacks like peanut butter cups and potato chips in drawers while making fruits more readily available
Most interesting to me is that Google releases the results of each of these experiments (nearly 1/3 of employees used the small plates and didn’t go back for more), which led to more results (after seeing that 1/3 of people were using small plates, small plate usage went up 50%*).

I’d argue that this story, which I’d guess is meant to show off some of the “cool stuff” Google does for its employees, sort of misses the mark for the Google PR Machine.

No one wants to be thought of as Big Brother, and that was the takeaway I ended up with after the article.
 
*This begs the question… if people are suddenly realizing that their employer is counting their calories, are they going to change their behavior? Is this the observer-effect come to life? I think if my employer was counting my calories, I’d change what I was eating in front of them.  


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About the Author
Mike Bush is a PR and Marketing freelancer with more than a dozen years of experience in the field. Find him on and connect Twitter @mikebush or at www.mikebush.nyc. 
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