How To Encourage Healthy Eating At Work
For those of us battling to stay on top of emails, meetings, and deadlines, food is simply fuel. However, we often don’t give it much thought and as leaders, we often don’t encourage healthy eating at work.
Food Is Fuel.
And it matters what kind of fuel you use. Unfortunately, we often don’t make smart decisions about our diet. More than 25% of Canadian workers do not take a regular lunch break. This is usually due to workload, company policy or culture according to a survey by Tork.
Leaders Need To Encourage The Lunch Break
Eating well and maintaining energy throughout the day can be a difficult feat in today’s busy workplaces. When we are time pressured, we tend to not eat or we make poor nutritional choices.
Often we skip lunch and grab for a soft drink, cup of caffeine or an energy drink to keep us going. These poor food choices can promote obesity, illness, and negatively impact productivity.
The Tork survey reveals that nearly 90% of employees consider the ability to take a lunch break critical when accepting a new job. However, many employees forego the break, fearing being judged poorly by their managers. While 89% of Canadian managers believe they encourage workers to take lunch, just 60% of employees would agree.
A supportive leader should consistently be urging their employees to step away from their desk, eat a healthy lunch and even socialize with others during their lunch break. In this way the employee can return to their job feeling refreshed, clear-headed, and creative. It is also important that leaders provide a good role model for a healthy lunch routine in order to encourage their employees to do follow their lead. According to the Tork study, North American workers who take lunch breaks every day score higher on a wide range of employee engagement metrics, including:
- job satisfaction
- likelihood to continue working at the same company
- and recommending their employer to others
Companies Need To Provide Options For Healthy Eating
A Pat on the Back survey by Seamless found that 60% of employees surveyed reported that having more food at the office would make them feel more valued and appreciated by their employer.
Nutrition and Workplace Wellness
Progressive companies are looking for simple ways to promote health and support healthier nutrition. Click to tweet
Some are adding vending machines that have more healthy choices and others have taken a harsher stance and eliminated the “pop and chip” machines altogether.
Some company cafeterias have added a premium fee to “fast food” items or subsidized healthy meals and snacks. Healthy decisions are even making their way to the team meeting. Instead of donuts and coffee, we are seeing more vegetables, yogurts, and flavoured waters. And just like in the hotels these days, there is nothing like a bowl of shiny apples, sitting in reception, to remind you to get your 5-10 every day.
The 3rd Friday in June is Take Back The Lunch Break Day. By having everyone focused on the importance of good food while at work, and having leaders actively promoting the lunch break, you company will be encouraging a positive workplace culture focused on a healthy employee.
Other results from the Pat on the Back survey by Seamless:
- Team Building. More than 60% of respondents agree that company-provided lunches encourage them to eat with their colleagues, fostering more internal collaboration.
- More than half of employees say that having food perks in the workplace would help them eat healthier.
- Half of the respondents (51%) reported spending more than 10 minutes per day picking up lunch or other food outside the office.
- More than half of employees say they would spend less time away from work if food were available.
- One-third of the employees surveyed divulged that it takes food to make them show up to optional meetings and 20% admit to making their decision after knowing what’s on the menu.
Examining the nutritional needs and habits of your employees, makes good business sense.
When designing your workplace wellness program, look for ways to educate, support behaviour changes and promote a healthier environment. The results may not just be reduced waist sizes and decreased benefits usage, but more engaged and productive employees.
If you have some strategies to share – comment on this posting!
Additional Resources On This Topic:
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