Good Food Builds a Healthier Workforce
As you know, good employee practices and wellness programs builds morale and the standard of food provided or catered for onsite has a surprisingly big part to play in this. The provision of good food builds a healthier workforce which can impact positively on sick days, morale and even productivity.
If you are in a leadership or HR role, you could be discovering that poor eating habits at work could be taking a toll on areas other than your employee’s waistlines; it could also be affecting productivity.
Many studies have been undertaken that back up this fact and include the following:
“Population Health Management” publication which showed that:
- Employees with an unhealthy diet were 66 percent more likely to report having experienced a loss in productivity than those who regularly ate whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
- Employees who exercised only occasionally were 50 percent more likely to report having lower levels of productivity than employees who were regular exercisers.
Another study from Brigham Young University, the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) and the Centre for Health Research at Healthways found that:
- Employees who rarely eat fruits, vegetables and other low-fat foods at work were 93 percent more likely to have a higher loss in productivity.
- Employees who did not believe their workplace environment would support them in becoming physically and emotionally healthier were more likely to have a drop in productivity levels.
These findings have huge impacts on today’s office based workplaces and reinforce the link between good food and a healthy productive workforce.
Most company wellness programs include areas such as physical working environment, gym membership, building decor, health/risk assessments but the more progressive programs now include the serving of nutritious food in the company restaurant and even health coaching. Johnson & Johnson, the global healthcare company view their employee wellness as a competitive advantage; they have seen results of healthier employees who are more productive, and miss fewer days of work. But it doesn’t have to just be about employee gyms or super cool on-site restaurants, any company can focus on improving their food offerings to promote employee wellness and productivity. So instead of stocking vending machines or shops with sugar filled treats that have proven to impair memory why not provide healthier options like nuts, berries, and green tea which are considered brain boosting foods.
Good food keeps your employees focused
Access to a variety of healthy, nutritious food at lunchtime helps employees stay focused on what they have come to work to do rather than planning where to eat, trying to find parking, queuing up and then rushing back to the office to be on time. Every manager knows that focus is at the core of producing good work, so help your employees focus and boost productivity. Another tip is to serve up healthy office breakfasts with a menu focused on nutritious foods like porridge or omelettes instead of fried food and pastries. Not only can this improve employee morale but also concentration levels among the workforce.
Good food impacts brain productivity
We all need glucose to fuel blood sugar levels and getting in glucose to the blood stream is pretty easy. Someone can eat a Danish pastry or consume a bowl of porridge. Now here is the interesting part, in the short term there is virtually no difference in brain activity. However, over the course of a normal working day the differences are alarming. After eating the pastry the person will release glucose into their blood quickly. It is an instant hit lasting about twenty minutes but then the glucose levels will drop rapidly, leaving them easily distracted and unfocused. The bowl of porridge on the other hand releases its sugar as glucose at a much slower pace. This means the person has a steady glucose level leading to better focus and a greater attention level. So the food served at work can improve productivity and increase employee focus.
Good food makes employees happier
Can eating good food make a person happier? Well the answer is Yes and it’s more than just hearsay. Human beings, like all animals, are fueled by the food and liquid they consume. In seven different measures of mental well-being carried out in research jointly by Dartmouth College, USA and Warwick University, UK, found evidence for the existence of a positive association between a person’s well-being and fruit-and-vegetable consumption. The findings proved that people who have their happiness levels increased through food consumption also increased their work output without any decline in work quality. Providing employees with better, healthier food at work makes them happy, and happy employees work better.
Good food builds a healthier workforce
Well if you have read this article to this point, you must be interested in your employees’ wellness. You don’t need studies to tell you that looking after an employee’s health is not only good for the company but for the well-being of the employee both inside and outside work. But how does poor eating manifest itself? Well, days lost through sickness have major impacts on any company’s operations. People eating poorly miss out on essential vitamins, minerals, and protein needed to properly fuel the body. So if the workforce does not have the fuel to keep them energised, work fatigue can lead to increased stress levels and even depression, resulting in more health issues that keep people away from their work. (UCLA Health)
One way to improve attendance and moral is to make sure your workforce takes care of themselves by providing them with the right wellness tools to do so. Good food in the workplace is one such wellness initiative. It may sound silly or unimportant to be writing about what people eat in the workplace as you have bigger fish to fry. However it is becoming increasingly clear that providing the workforce with healthy, nutritious food options on-site can make a positive contribution to the business with a measurable return on investment.
So always strive to ensure that your company’s catering facilities includes a wide variety of nutritious food. The emphasis of providing healthy food in the workplace will reflect on the company’s brand and kick start all types of positive discussions on employee wellness.