From Corporate Catering to Wellness: What America’s Happiest Companies Have in Common

Posted by on Wednesday, December 25th, 2013 with Comments Off on From Corporate Catering to Wellness: What America’s Happiest Companies Have in Common Comments

The newly crowned happiest companies in America (according to rankings from include a pharmaceutical giant, a health insurer, and whatever exactly GE is these days. What do they have in common? These companies understand key factors to employee happiness, like work-life balance, relationships between coworkers, growth opportunities, and work environment.

One other thing? With few exceptions, they all have really stellar workplace wellness programs and healthy corporate catering plans.

catered lunch of salads

Healthy catered lunches are key to workplace wellness. Image source: flickr user frankfarm

Pfizer, the pharmaceutical company that claimed the top ranking for employee happiness, emphasizes on-site fitness centers, smoking cessation programs, and healthy cafeteria offerings as part of its “Healthy Pfizer” program. At Kaiser Permanente, the insurer who took #2, the companywide employee wellness program is centered around healthy choices: from stocking healthy food in vending machines to offering yoga classes on their campuses. GE even created an internal certification program for its numerous work campuses to be officially recognized as “HealthAhead” sites. With 50 measures ranging from smoke-free workplaces to nutritional labeling in cafeterias, GE places a huge emphasis on the personal choices employees can make to improve their overall health.

Google, at #21 on the happiness index, is famous for its food philosophy: providing free, high-quality meals at restaurants and cafes throughout its campus. And when faced with the recent discovery that workers were probably overindulging on M&Ms, Google put behavioral psychology to the test. They moved the complimentary candy to opaque bowls, while stocking healthy treats like pistachios and dried figs in glass jars… and candy consumption fell dramatically. That kind of concentrated effort goes far beyond simply providing a company gym and catering healthy meals; Google, like Pfizer, Kaiser, and GE, is truly proactive about looking out for employee health.

workplace bike commuter

Encouraging bike commuting is one way to support employee health. Image source: flickr user Hugger Industries

Of course, the yoga classes and free pistachios aren’t just about keeping employees chipper and cheerful. The highly analytic and successful minds behind these companies know that happy, healthy employees miss fewer days of work and rack up significantly lower health care costs. But for employees, the end result is the same: a better environment where they can spend their days and an employer that is committed to their long-term wellbeing.

Worker at a treadmill desk

You don’t have to go overboard to cultivate workplace wellness. Image source: flickr user healthiermi

But what if you don’t have the budget of a multinational pharmaceutical firm? That’s where’s list of the 46 healthiest companies to work for comes in handy. Their “Tiny Business” category includes only companies with less than 100 employees. The top-ranked little guys include a Tampa law firm, a blogging platform, and a Milwaukee-based sports marketing company — a far cry from mega-corporations like GE and Pfizer. They may be smaller, but these companies operate under the same philosophy as the big guys: workplace wellness is worth the investment. OK, so providing free company lunches on Fridays, a regular fresh fruit delivery, or a handful of on-site bicycles for employee use may be a smaller investment, but the impact can be just as large.

Healthy, happy workers are key to a successful workplace, and there are solutions out there for companies of all sizes and industries. Whether this means healthy snacks in the breakroom, weekly office breakfasts, or full catered healthy lunches, can help your office find its ideal path to workplace wellness!

When it comes to feeding employees and coworkers, make your company's food program really count! If your workplace dining plan needs to take it up a notch — or if you don't have one at all — is here to help. From Virtual Cafeteria Service to diverse menus to local takeout & offers customizable dining solutions for every business and budget. Contact us today to get started!

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