UK employees with poor eating habits cost employers 97 million lost working days (or £17 billion) each year. A ‘perfect-storm’ combination of factors is changing every aspect of our lives, mostly to the detriment of our health and ability to perform, and ultimately leading to such staggering figures. For business, wellbeing is a challenge. CEO’s not only have a moral obligation to look after the wellbeing of their staff, but increasingly they will gain clear business advantage by putting wellbeing at the core of their strategy.
Some of the challenges currently being faced:
- An ever-increasing reliance on processed foods, fast-food, sugar and the desire for instant gratification. As a result, 64% of UK adults are classed as obese or overweight, with one in 16 currently living with diabetes. Apart from such obvious health risks this presents, it is also causing lower performance at work and rise in sickness at work.
- Along with poor diets our modern lifestyle sees adults living a more sedentary lifestyle and walking a lot less. Desk jobs, meetings, lunches and a tv lifestyle in an evening, all negatively contribute to overall health and wellbeing.
- An increase in ‘grazing’. Whilst this is not detrimental, understanding that employees’ consumer up to two thirds of their daily calorie intake whilst at work, means a greater importance on employee nutrition.
However, there are actions that business leaders can take to encourage a healthier diet in the workplace:
EMPHASISE EDUCATION – Lunch or break-time seminars are prime opportunities for helping employees learn more about healthy habits. Recruit speakers to lead sessions on cooking healthy meals, staying healthy while travelling or creating healthy snacks. Offer incentives to employees to attend and keep the sessions entertaining and informative.
INVEST IN INCENTIVES – Employee incentive programmes offer rewards for employees who engage in healthy behaviour.
HONE HUNGER OPTIONS – Offer your employees healthy meal and snack options – that taste great! Stock snack machines with healthy alternatives to traditional products; raw chocolate, nuts, biltong, dried fruit and other healthy options. Ensure the office cafeteria has plenty of healthy meal options.
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