The technology giant’s research and development center operates a shell of health and fitness activities, mental support and proper nutrition for the benefit of employees – and even a spinning course. Another article in the “Healthy Workers – Healthy Organization” series
Until two years ago, Brazilian Oz (41), a software engineer in the MSAI Group at Microsoft Israel Research and Development, defined himself in a title that many would identify with. “I was an armchair sweet potato whose every connection to sports was purely coincidental,” he recalls. “I ate everything that came my way, and I fought my wife for not having the strength to exercise.” The resistance stopped abruptly when a yoga class opened in a Brazilian’s workplace. ‘It was almost too easy: they gave me all the conditions, at convenient times, with all the equipment. I had no excuse – so I signed up. ‘ What began as an experience became a way of life two and a half years later. A Brazilian combines yoga with a gym and surfing, and testifies that his life has changed. ‘Beyond physical improvement, I feel better in all areas: physical, mental, spiritual. All this would not have happened without the work. ‘
Microsoft Israel Research and Development is currently one of Microsoft’s strategic centers worldwide. The center has about 30 different product groups that lead a significant portion of the company’s core products, the most prominent of which deal with the fields of security and artificial intelligence. The company provides its employees with a comprehensive healthy lifestyle, which touches on a variety of areas and allows for hybridity and flexibility in accordance with the employees’ schedules.
The company’s new campus in Herzliya includes one of the largest gyms in Israel, spread over more than 1,000 square meters. Scattered inside are 55 advanced fitness equipment, closely accompanied and personally trained by professionals. There are also functional classes such as CROSSFIT as well as custom training. In addition, employees have bicycles at their disposal for the benefit of those who prefer to pedal on their way to the office and back.
The Microsoft campus has been designed and built in a way that encourages the constant use of stairs, both outside the building (on the porch) and inside. An app called “Reaction Club” offers employees running and walking challenges. Those interested can sign up for one of a variety of enrichment activities: skipper courses, ninja, basketball, volleyball, circus and merry.go.rounds and more. In addition, there are social running groups led by a coach. The company’s employees also participate in the Tel Aviv Marathon, in a special race in collaboration with Special Olympics people and the GreenRun race for the planet.
In the field of psychiatry, the company operates the Employee Assistance Program, through which emotional support and counseling is provided by psychologists and psychiatrists on any subject. Proper nutrition workshops, naturopathy, Chinese medicine and mindfulness, as well as event.tailored activities are offered to employees at all times. Thus, for example, during Operation The Guardian, employees were given lectures on how to deal with stress and how to behave with children.
The kitchens and cafeterias at Microsoft operate in a healthy format, serving healthy dishes alongside fruits and vegetables for 24 hours, as well as vegan, vegetarian, gluten.free and sugar.free options. On the subject of ergonomics, employees have the option of receiving customized advice to create a healthy and efficient work environment – both for the home position and for the office position – and to receive the ergonomic equipment recommended for them.