The science of happiness at work

By Martin Vogel

Google canteen
An enticing display at the Google canteen

Compare and contrast.

At Google, social science researchers have been engaged to advise on the optimal conditions in staff canteens:

“Researchers found that the ideal lunch line should be about three or four minutes long—that’s short enough that people don’t waste time but long enough that they can meet new people. The tables should be long, so workers who don’t know each other are forced to chat. And, after running an experiment, Google found that stocking cafeterias with 8-inch plates alongside 12-inch plates encouraged people to eat smaller, healthier portions.”

Meanwhile, at the recently completed corporate headquarters of a large media organisation, staff complain that their catering facilities are not fit for purpose:

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