With the majority of full-time employees now spending at least forty hours a week at work, and studies showing that healthy workers are more productive than their unhealthy counterparts, employers are realising that wellbeing is no longer a purely personal matter.
63% of Australian adults are currently classified as being overweight or obese. While shocking in its own right, this statistic appears mild when compared with how it translates into illness. One Australian develops diabetes every five minutes and heart disease remains our biggest killer.
Enhanced health begins with what we put into our bodies, and by introducing a series of simple, nutrition-focused changes, organisations can get more from their staff, while helping them live longer, more comfortable lives.
Try implementing the following tips to help your people make more healthful choices at work:
Manage the supplies:
Employers should be mindful of the temptations with which they provide their employees through catering, vending machines and kitchen cupboard stocks. Countless diets have been sabotaged by seating well intended workers next to platters of treats during lengthily meetings, while health conscious staff members could be left feeling frustrated when faced with biscuits at break instead of a more nutritious option. Swap sugary snacks for fruit, veg sticks and nut pots to promote slimmer waistlines and heightened levels of concentration.
Denounce desk dining:
With 3.8m Australians regularly sacrificing their lunch breaks in favour of efficiency, dining ‘al desko’ has become the new norm. Not only does this phenomenon promote the mindless consumption of unhealthy foods, it also damages productivity while creating a rather unsavoury working environment. Studies have shown that the work stations of people who routinely lunch at their desks can host up to 400 times more harmful bacteria than the seat of a public toilet. Employers should consider running lunch hour activities as a way of luring staff out of their seats and away from their screens.
Keep the kitchen clean:
Few situations deter clean eating at work like having to reheat nutrient rich food in a lunch spattered microwave. Ensure common areas and appliances appear hygienic at all times so that staff feel comfortable and supported in bringing homemade meals into the office.
While generally well-intended, the dumping of leftover party foods in lunch rooms often tempts staff off track once the midday slump hits. Notify your team that a new wellness orientated sharing policy has been introduced. State the reasons behind placing restrictions on high sugar foods and suggest distributing more nutritious treats instead.
Educate and grow:
With 93% of Australians failing to eat five servings of vegetables per day, it’s clear even the most basic nutritional guidelines are going unheard. Making healthy eating as practical as possible is the best way to ensure its long-term success. In workplaces where employees are particularly lax when it comes to food, employers should consider running some form of nutritional awareness campaign. This could involve informative emails and signage, the distribution of food diaries, the sharing of recipes among staff or expert-led, easy follow cooking demonstrations.