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Eating well at work: is it an employer’s or employees's responsibility?

Posted by: Justin Byrne

For all of us workers, the office has become our first home (and dining room too!)

We spend an average of 45/50 hours at work, which totals most of our waking hours, and we use our desks and drawers like mini wardrobes, hiding in there everything we need to get through the day: from shoes and ties, to deodorants and brushes, from toothbrushes to ... FOOD! 

I personally couldn’t live in the office without my bottle of extra-virgin olive oil that I protectively hide inside my draw (I’m Italian...what can you expect!) But what do you normally keep locked inside yours? If the answer is crisps, doughnuts, biscuits and all manner of junk snacks...then you should read this article and re-consider your daily diet in the office.

Did you know that at least one third of our daily calories are consumed while at work? The problem is that most of it is not what nutritionists would describe as a healthy, balanced meal. We all know that we should eat more fruit and vegetables, drink more water and avoid useless calories during our working day to benefit our health and weight. But have you considered that what we eat throughout the day affects our productivity and efficiency at work too?

TV nutritionist and author Amanda Hamilton said: “We have the best intentions to save time by eating at our desks so we can focus on our work, but the foods that we snack on, along with the other bad habits are actually causing people to be less productive which can mean that simple tasks are taking longer than they should. Eating healthier snacks is a simple step that pays dividends.”
So, these are also points of concern for employers, for those who recognise that the health of their employees influences the health of their businesses.

In Bloomberg’s New York offices, the size of cups and cereal bowls has been reduced and the company offers naturally flavoured waters: “It looks like you’re having pink lemonade, but you’re really having pomegranate-flavoured water” – said Lee Ballin, the company’s sustainability manager.

International healthcare company Bupa, estimates that more than six million UK employees do not leave their desks for lunch and only 13% manage to get away for a full hour, impacting on employee energy and productivity levels and costing UK business £50m a day.

Patrick Watt, corporate director at Bupa UK, says that while “it’s encouraging that businesses are increasingly recognising their responsibility to help keep their people healthy and well: encouraging people to take regular breaks away from their desk and maintain a healthy work-life balance is vital to ensuring people have time to relax and recharge.”

 Other companies prefer more direct techniques. Italian company Technogym incentivise employees to be healthy with “move points”, which are converted into prizes. The canteen food lists the number of calories and the number of points it correlates to, and a “my wellness key” measures each employee’s daily activity and constantly downloaded onto the cloud. 

In final analysis, the responsibility of eating well at work is collective. Employers should set the example for healthy eating, but workers too and workers’ families also need to be on board for it to become habit.




Recent Comments
Along with promoting eating well at work, the IT companies need to promote employees for participating in Sports or Gym Activities for half an hour to an hour daily, This will help them maintain good work-life balance and be more focused and productive at work. A Good and Healthy Employee is good for the organization.
gkb, 11 June 2016
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