People can spend more than 50% of their waking hours in the workplace and can eat at least one meal and many snacks during each working day.
Poor diet in the workplace is a significant factor to the UK’s poor health record and sickness absence levels. Many workplaces have too many temptations on offer to their employees such as sweets, chocolates, cakes and biscuits and need to improve nutrition by encouraging staff to eat other healthier options instead.
Employers should aim to promote healthy eating within the workplace as there are many benefits for both employers and employees, including increased productivity, improved staff morale and reducing sickness and staff turnover.
Organisations need to positively influence their employees eating habits by increasing the accessibility of healthy foods in work canteens and food machines in order to increase the awareness of healthy eating. They also need to identify the need to focus on healthy eating and to achieve a higher rate of health improvement amongst all the employees. One way of achieving this is to introduce a healthy eating week and have health challenges where all employees have targets to achieve which could include:
- Eating 5 portions of fruit and vegetables every day
- Drinking more water
- Eat a healthier breakfast
- Do various forms of exercise
A healthy eating week would need to be tailored to suit the employees of the organisation and the employer would need to decide on the activities and when they need to take place.
Every organisation needs to promote healthy alternatives to the junk food and could provide nutritious snacks which are easy to eat such as apples and dried fruit in meeting rooms, rest areas or canteens. This will give employees more energy and less stress and fatigue. Discourage people from eating at their desks and try to ensure that all staff within the organisation are aware of the new healthier regime and that they understand the low-calorie options which are available and make them easy to identify.
Since recently becoming a vegetarian myself in August 2015 I have found a major increase in my energy levels and can now easily work from 6.00am until late at night, whereas in the past I was constantly tired and was less productive. It really is all about eating the right choice of food in order to increase productivity levels to be able to live and feel healthy and have the ability to work for longer periods feeling more alive.
A good idea could be to make an official declaration within the employee handbook stating that the organisation is dedicated and committed to ensuring that healthier options are available to staff wherever possible.
The main aim is to achieve a healthier workforce by looking at factors in the workplace environment which encourages healthier eating through access to healthier foods, education and promoting healthy choices.
A healthy workforce with a good nutritious diet can help to reduce the prevalence of many common diseases including obesity, diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease and will help to reduce sickness absence levels within the organisation.