Poor diet can impact on work, seriously!
We all know that eating a healthy and balanced diet is an essential component of maintaining our overall health. But did you know that what your employees eat has a direct impact on their productivity?
Food determines how well our bodies function. What we eat effects our performance at work as it has an impact on our mental clarity, energy and stamina. You may say, this this obvious! isn’t this just common sense? but who can deny that we, and our staff, don’t always make smart decisions regarding our diet. There are many reasons for these poor food choices;
- We are typically experiencing our lowest energy and self-control points when deciding what to eat,
- We have limited time for eating and the unhealthy option is almost always faster and cheaper than the healthier alternative
- In most workplaces, there is easy access to vending machines, snacks and other junk food.
And of course, coming up to the Christmas break, when there are parties/functions as temptations to over-indulge.
Supporting improved nutrition among your staff is about more than reducing absenteeism. It’s about increasing the ability of your employees to be fully engaged and mentally focused on their work. Sluggishness can lead to mistakes, lower output, lost innovation and even workplace accidents. Therefore, if you’re serious about productivity and performance in your workplace, then making it easier for your employees to make intelligent decisions about food is essential.
So how can you as an employer support improved nutrition among your employees to harness improved productivity?
Like every aspect of your business, change starts at the top, meaning you need to model good nutritional choices in addition to making healthy eating the easiest possible option for your employees.
5 simple ways to improve nutrition in your workplace include:
- Supply fresh fruit to your employees to curb unhealthy snacking (this should include access to bottled or filtered water to encourage hydration)
- Remove the vending machine or work with your suppliers to provide more nutritious options at a reduced cost
- Request that employees don’t eat at their desks and more importantly, encourage them to NOT skip meals
- When catering in the workplace, provide nutritious and healthy options such as fruit platters, nuts, sushi and salads over pastries, pizza and burgers. We live in such a wonderful, multi cultural country, full of fresh produce and there are so many delicious healthier food options – such as Vietnamese, Japanese, Street Foods etc, so availability is certainly no issue/excuse.
- Replace happy hour or the next work drinks outing with a cooking class on preparing healthy work week lunches and snacks
It is also of note to keep in mind that incremental changes will be more readily accepted among your teams rather than a radical, overnight overhaul. And, like any change initiative, communication is key. Talk to your employees about the importance of nutrition at work, find out what is important to them and the initiatives they are more likely to support before implementing any changes.
Often changes such as these are more effective in a group, so the office environment is the perfect place to encourage and educate each other on improving diet and therefore health and productivity! It’s a win/win!