We are what we eat, or so we are told. That is why so many of us are looking closely at our diets and how can change them. This is no longer just a tool to make us weigh less but instead is linked to so many other subjects. It might be to avoid intolerances, to be more sustainable, to impact our skin, or to give us more energy. There is no end to reasons as to why we should eat more healthily, but did you know that it can also impact how we perform at work?
It seems obvious that what we eat at work will affect how well we are able to do our jobs, whether it involves sitting at a desk or doing some heavy lifting. We all need to be fuelled properly for the task at hand, yet employers have still not thought about how they could benefit their own employee productivity simply by changing the food that they offer in the workplace.
Here, Ian Perry, Head of Technical Services at Cema Vending discusses employee nutrition, and how the diet choices that they make at work can affect what they do in their roles each day.
We all want to take better care of our health, and our diets are intrinsically linked to this. When we eat too much of the wrong things, we can have a negative impact on our health, which can show in all sorts of ways.
Whether employees suffer from obesity, diabetes, heart conditions, or even mental health problems, our diets are thought to be largely responsible. All of these problems mean that employees need time off sick or for medical appointments, which means their jobs are not being done and it is costing your business money.
By offering healthy food options in the workplace, you can help your employees to make better choices for themselves and to stay on track with their goals. When they do this, it can benefit their health, and healthy employees tend to be more productive ones.
Employees always want to feel valued in the job that they do, and this is an even higher priority in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. By simply offering sugar and salt-filled snacks, you are doing the bare minimum for your staff. When you start to diversify what you offer and provide healthier choices, your employees tend to feel that their health and wellbeing are important to you. This goes a long way towards making them feel valued, and when they do, they are more likely to give their all for the business.
Providing perks through food or dining facilities where people can relax and mingle also helps to change how people feel at work. They can not only refuel and recharge their batteries but can forge new relationships which could make for more collaborative working within the business.
This helps to create a sense of belonging, strengthens ties to the business, and makes employees more loyal. This feeling of value is an important tool in holding onto the right talent and attracting the best new faces into the business.
There are now huge numbers of people who have special dietary requirements. This might be through lifestyle choices such as veganism and vegetarianism, they could be part of religious beliefs or maybe due to intolerances and allergies. All of these tend to require healthier diets and a greater amount of choice. By providing this you can make sure that everyone is included and thought about.
Avoid the highs
We have all reached for a bar of chocolate when energy levels are low in the hope that gives us the necessary kick-start to get something done. Initially, this tends to work, and we can feel a high taking hold as the sugar works its way through our system. However, we all know what comes next.
After a high comes a low, and the slump that we experience as the sugar wears off can counteract any benefits that the buzz might have produced.
Healthy and natural food works in a different way and fuels us better
When foods contain natural sugars instead of refined ones, our bodies take longer to process them. That means they are released more slowly, giving us a stable and consistent flow of energy over a longer period, without a drop-off at the end.
Ditching sweets and cakes for apples and bananas can make a huge difference to the productivity of each employee, so having a selection for them to help themselves to can be massively beneficial to everyone.
Eating healthy food at work is not just about energy levels, as it can also play a part in brain function too. Studies have shown that the more fruit and vegetable people eat, the more creative they become at work.
Research has found that those who eat fruit and vegetables at least four times a week instead of one of the 79 million ready meals that the UK consumes each day, show 25% higher job performance than other colleagues. This is because those foods are packed with vitamins that can improve things such as reaction times and concentration.
Certain foods not only get us working but get us feeling great too. Spinach, blueberries and avocados, and other foods rich in vitamin C have been found to reduce stress, whilst magnesium heavy foods such as dark chocolate, leafy greens, and steak can decrease anxiety and have a relaxing effect on the muscles. Other foods such as almonds contain phenylalanine, which stimulates the production of the mood-boosting dopamine.
You might not think that your employees’ diets are your problem, but when you start to examine how the foods that they eat affect what happens at work, it becomes clear that a few small changes can be a positive thing for everyone. Supporting a healthy diet at work is good for your employees but it also plays a large part in boosting productivity and your bottom line.