Employee Benefits Live: Google focuses on emotional wellbeing to make staff healthiest on the planet

Emotional wellbeing is the most important part of making Googlers the healthiest employees on the planet.

During the opening keynote session of Employee Benefits Live 2011 on 27 September, Oli Husemeyer, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) lead for ‘Optimize your life’ at Google, said that helping employees build emotional resilience, supporting them during key life events, and making sure managers have the resources to support employees, are key to the organisation’s vision of making its staff the healthiest and happiest on the planet.

With 26,000 employees in 60 countries, Google launched its ‘Optimize your life’ programme in 2010, as an extension of a new healthcare plan. Its three main pillars are: emotional health, physical health and financial health.

Google’s emotional wellbeing benefits include an employee assistance programme (EAP), life coaching, deep-sleep sessions, brain training, support groups, and recharging spaces (or energy pods) within the office for 20 or 30-minute breaks.

Google also offers staff the opportunity to donate holiday entitlement to fellow employees who need to take an extended break from work. Husemeyer adds: “It all comes back to the family and friends mentality at Google.”

“Work-life balance issues are endemic to corporate life,” said Husemeyer. “Everyone needs to take responsibility for their own work-life balance.”

Its physical wellbeing benefits include health coverage for all employees and family members, promotion of fitness and nutrition, and smoking-cessation sessions. Fiscal wellbeing benefits include teaching employees to be financially literate.

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