Diet and Nutrition in your workplace is more important than you think
How and what your team is eating impacts its productivity. This means it becomes your responsibility to promote proper diet and nutrition in your workplace so that your employees remain happy and healthy, not only bringing benefits to them but also to you in terms of overall productivity and positive atmosphere.
Encouraging your employees to treat food as more than simply just fuel is where it all starts. When you’ve got a packed day full of tasks to complete, it is easy to go for the more efficient and fast but less healthy options. Proper diet and nutrition is crucial to the happiness and health of your employees. So, let’s consider how you can promote proper diet and nutrition in your workplace.
Understand your people
Before you start making changes and talk to your employees about changing their food choices, it might be a good idea to understand what the current situation is in your workplace. In one company, an employee team was formed to gauge the preferences of fellow employees in terms of food and wellness activities. This probing generated some information for the employer to see how healthy his employees were in general.
Once you gain an understanding of what the preferences of your employees are, it will help you to formulate a plan of action or come up with effective ideas to promote proper diet and nutrition in your workplace. A popular concept is the employees’ 18” of personal space. Within this space you will find what they eat, what they wear etc. Your employees can get upset if they think you are about to mess with their personal space and rights. So, when you go around gathering information, try not to seem invasive and ensure them you respect their personal space and rights.
Healthy options in the workplace
A survey conducted by the Society for Human Resources Management reveals that in an ideal situation organisations give their employees, ‘what they want and need- a wide array of food options’ (2). It is important to remember that in the process of promoting healthy food and beverage options at the workplace, HR professionals do not act like the ‘food police’.
So, whether it be the company canteen, vending machines or snacks at meetings, you might be able to increase the number of healthy food options without taking away the other existing options. This way, employees don’t feel as though they are being controlled but rather will notice the well-intentioned efforts of the company to promote proper diet and nutrition. At the end of the day, it’s up to the employee to decide what they want to eat.
Educate your employees
Maybe all your employees need is an educative discussion that will remind them about the importance of improving diet and nutrition. The workplace is a great platform to reach out to individuals about their nutrition and diet. The 2017 Food & Health Survey reveals that 80% of Americans are confused about which foods to avoid and which to eat. (3) It could be that your employees are already trying to eat healthier but if they are confused about what exactly “healthy” means, it could lead them to growing tired of trying. (4) This would not be good news for you as an employer neither for the wellbeing of your employees. A few effective ways to educate your employees could be:
- Invite a nutritionist or healthcare professional to conduct an on-site seminar
- Make available a trustworthy source of information in terms of healthy eating.
- Offer onsite cooking classes or discounts for classes.
- Provide discounted consultations with nutritionists
- Send out nutritious recipes weekly
Remember, your goal is to educate your employees and keep them away from confusion. You do not want to provide too much information and overwhelm them. So, make sure they get the right information in the right amount. It would also be great to let them know who or where they can go for proper advice in matters of diet and nutrition.
Are the diet and nutrition practices of your employees any of your business really? Well, consider the fact that those aspects directly affect the output of your employees and overall company productivity. As an employer, it only brings you benefits when you take good care of your employees.
Previous cases have shown that employees can be sensitive when it comes to personal issues such as their eating habits. Consequently, when you think about implementing changes, remember to be tactful and thoughtful in doing so.