Google's Employee Perks – Could It Work For Healthcare?


Google Fridge

On a recent visit to California,  I was treated to an informal tour at Google. By the end of the tour, I was ready to sign on.  It wasn’t so much the work, but I wanted to enjoy all the employee perks.  I would start off dining at the cafe featuring local, organic produce in those trendy California-style dishes. Then, with a little time left on my lunch hour, I would toss my dirty clothes in one of the many washing machines, and hop on a colorful Google bike for a spin around campus.

My brother, an avid cyclist and Google employee, happily participates in the program where Google contributes to a charity of his choice for each day he self-powers himself to work.  I couldn’t believe all the other things my brother told me Google provides. I started getting Google-Envy.

Google Perks:  (Click here for a complete list)

  • Free Dining – 3 meals a day- with a variety of high quality cafeterias and cafes.
  • Free On -Site Laundromats.
  • Fitness Facilities
  • Medical and Dental Insurance
  • Coffee/Snack Bars so you’re never more than 150 feet from refreshment.
  • Employee Assistance Program with free short term counseling.
  • Haircuts on site for $20.
  • Oil Change and Car Wash Services available on-site for a charge.
  • Free Shuttle Service to and from work.
  • Sleeping Pods for napping.
  • Massage Voucher on your birthday.

It would be nice, but naive, to think that Google does this entirely out of the goodness of its Google -sized heart. Yet that doesn’t mean these amenities designed to maximize employee productivity don’t create some valuable goodwill and have other important benefits.

I’ve been thinking about this Google model and wondering what can be applied to Healthcare to counteract burnout and improve moral and patient care.  Granted, Hi-Tech and Healthcare are birds of a different feather, and can hardly be compared from a financial standpoint, but it’s worth having a look. If something isn’t done to improve the day-to-day satisfaction with medicine, more and more doctors are going to be Googling to find new careers.

If I let my imagination run wild, what would a Googlized Healthcare Organization look like in terms of employee perks?  Here’s one possibility with a wellness focus:

Mental Health/Wellness Services
Dedicated Physician and Staff Wellness Program
Assessments for Burnout, Risk for Substance Abuse, Depression, Suicide
Confidential Referrals for Counseling
Stress Management Seminars
Peer Mentoring/Coaching

Speakers, Workshops and Retreats on Wellness Topics
Monthly Newsletter
Lending Library

Additional Offerings
Healthy Dining Options
Exercise facility
Meditation and Mindfulness Classes
Confidential Discussion Groups
Stress Reduction Room

This vision does NOT have the healthcare entity footing the bill for all these things.  Many of these services could be provided as a convenience for those who choose to pay for them.  For Google, it has proven worthwhile to have services such as haircuts made more convenient by having a mobile salon on-site.

If a healthcare organization makes physician and staff wellness a priority, the message received by employees is completely different than the, “We have to maximize profits and the bottom line.  Can you see a few more patients?” refrain.  And this is not to imply that the business model of maximizing profits is disregarded in any sense of the word.  Rather, it is an understanding that pro-actively helping physicians and staff to stay healthy and satisfied in their work will pay off through improved patient care, greater job retention, decreased malpractice and an enhanced work morale.

The need to help healthcare organizations better care for its own was not lost on the founders of Physician Wellness Services.  According to the website, they offer a “soup to nuts” array of services ranging from counseling referrals and interventions for disruptive physicians to concierge services for child-care and travel arrangement.

While concierge services can be nice, I would be thrilled to see some more mental health and wellness resources made available to healthcare providers, and an end to the stigma for using them.  Hair cuts and oil changes can wait.

Latest Posts

Find what you're looking for:

Heather Fork

Leave a Comment

Doctors-Crossing-Physicians-Insider-Guide (1)

GetThe Physician's Insider Guide

15 of the most common FAQs on physician career transition

Sign up below to get the resource to jump-start your career transformation! You will also receive the latest blogs and updates from Heather.

Tim O

The coaching I have had with you has been life changing."

You helped me find the courage to seek out leadership positions and become a medical director as well as a physician advisor. I am grateful we crossed paths and am a different person because of it. You have inspired me to "believe" in spite of my inner skeptic. I consider you one of my most important mentors and am proud to also call you a friend. This says a lot given the apprehension I felt when I took a chance with our first coaching session. Even though I have already made a successful transition, I still value your ongoing mentorship and can enthusiastically attest that the value of your services is tremendous!

- Tim Owolabi, MD

Family Medicine
Lynette Charity

“I was at a crossroads in my medical career. I asked myself, "Do I stay or do I go?" 

I met Heather at the SEAK conference. She and I revisited this question.  Did I want to quit being medicine completely? She helped me to identify my needs, wants, and my vision for my FUTURE, not just in medicine, but in life!!!

She was able to listen to my "ramblings" about becoming a stand-up comic, lounge singer and voice-over actor and translate them into action steps.  I chose to become a composite of all of these. Now I am a more confident, healthier, happier person. I credit this in its entirety to the tutelage I have received and continue to receive from Heather.  She cares. She listens. She was there for ME.  She will be there for YOU!

- Lynette Charity, MD

Gail Miller

“I am forever grateful to Heather for helping me to recognize, I am more than just my M.D." 

Heather helped me understand that I am more than just a doctor and that my experiences in clinical medicine are valuable in so many arenas.  As a result I realized that there are other ways to use my background, still be able to help people and continue to challenge myself and grow.  To that end I discovered coaching - specifically health coaching.  I am on my journey becoming a health coach and truly loving it!

- Gail Miller, MD

OB/Gyn physician

“Thank you, Heather, for helping me transform my career, my faith and my life."

What started out as an initial thirty-minute consultation call turned into an amazing four-year journey that transformed my life, personally, spiritually and professionally. 

Heather helped me to discover my doing so, I discovered I still had a calling for medicine but it now came from a place of truth... wife and I are opening our first concierge medicine clinic in a community we love. I’m actually excited to have the opportunity to practice medicine the way I believe it’s meant to be, with a focus on the doctor-patient relationship and an emphasis on faith. I know if I had not reached out to Dr. Fork, my life would not be where it is at today.

- Steve Lapke, MD

Papillion, NE
Sue Zimmermann

“Heather gave me the confidence to create a new livelihood by following my heart."

She is incredibly knowledgeable about the range of careers available to physicians and provided me with advice and connections which I would not have found on my own.  From the start she encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and try different things.  I was laid off unexpectedly in early 2017, and Heather gave me the confidence to create a new livelihood by following my heart and making decisions based on trust, not fear.  Now I am enjoying working part-time in a clinical setting in addition to teaching and writing.

- Sue Zimmermann, MD

Orthopedic Surgeon
Devki Patel

After months of struggling to find a non-clinical career that matched my values and passion, I stumbled upon Heather's website which truly changed my life."

Heather's insightful and personalized approach to career coaching made me think outside the box since she took the time to evaluate my personality, values, interests, and preferred lifestyle.

Through her encouragement, practical advice, and professional connections, I was able to find a non-clinical position at a state Medicaid agency that aligned with my passion for population health and serving low-income communities. In addition to her coaching sessions, Heather has built a community of like-minded physicians through her blog, and I feel honored to recommend her to friends and colleagues who seek to make positive changes in their professional and personal lives.

- Devki Patel, MD

Jay Macregor

Working with Heather ultimately helped me leave my job in corporate healthcare and find a path that was much more fulfilling."

My career was going reasonably well but I couldn’t shake this nagging feeling I could do better; or at least find a better long-term career fit.  

I was able to find a surgery job that better aligned with my goals and professional interests.  Additionally, Heather helped me start a consulting business which has allowed me to pursue a true passion: helping medical students, residents, and attendings surgeons navigate the challenges of high-stakes standardized exams.    

If you are reading this as a “Type A” surgeon who doesn’t think coaching is for you, I would encourage you to give Heather a shot.  I’m very glad I did!

- Jay MacGregor, MD

Colorectal Surgeon

“I gained the confidence in myself to develop an action plan that blended the best parts of my experiences and interests into a cohesive career." 

Through our work, I learned to trust myself to make good decisions for my own future – something I hadn’t realized I was struggling with because as an emergency physician, I make life-changing decisions with patients every day. 

By feeding my creativity and interests in other realms of my professional life, I’ve found renewed compassion for my patients and myself, making every shift an opportunity to actually care for people. Thank you Heather. I really couldn’t have made these changes without your help!

- Liz McMurtry, DO

Emergency Medicine Physician

The simple truth is - Heather Fork totally helped me change my life."

I never would have had the courage to make the changes I’ve made without her unwavering support, wealth of knowledge and commitment. 

When I first started working with Heather, I was downtrodden...I’d been practicing medicine for 20+ years and yet had never quite found my place.  During the first year I worked with Heather, I left the practice I’d been working at, and recreated an entirely new professional purpose.

I’m now an executive and leadership coach, a university professor, and a Brené Brown Daring Way facilitator, and I have never looked back.  I love what I am doing more than at any other time in my professional life and I credit Heather with seeing in me what I was never able to see in myself, until now.

Don’t hesitate, don’t doubt yourself, schedule your time with Heather as soon as possible- she can help you reconnect to your purpose and reinvent your life.

- Amie Langbein, DO

Family Physician
Untitled design

"After 30 years in academic medicine, I wanted a career change but had no idea where to start. Medicine was all I knew."

I signed up for coaching with Heather and it transformed my life. She helped me get clear on what I wanted my life to look like. We reviewed my skills, values, and strengths. She instilled hope in me that change IS possible after 50 years! 

The outcome is that I have created a life I love! I practice endocrinology part-time and own a life coaching business! Coaching with Heather is one of the best investments I have made in my life. 

- Karen Barnard, MBBCh, MPH

Endocrinologist and Life Coach