Health in the Workplace: Nutrition and its Impact
Nutrition impacts overall health in the workplace more than you might think.
In the workplace, how and what you and your employees eat can positively impact their productivity. Thus you need to promote proper nutrition and eating habits in your workplace. Doing so creates a healthy work environment and promotes health in the workplace.
So, what is nutrition?
It is the process of providing the food necessary for health and growth. All living organisms need nutrition to sustain life.
Well-designed workplace nutrition programs are essential for employee health. Eating unhealthy foods increases risks of health problems such as high blood cholesterol, diabetes, etc. Whereas adopting good nutritional habits decreases the risk factors of such diseases.
In the long term, a healthy work environment eliminates and prevents all kinds of health risks and reduces costs for health insurance. It improves both the physical and mental health of your workforce.
Every corporate wellness program promotes healthy nutritional habits in the workplace. It benefits you and your employees and creates work-life balance resulting in productivity and a healthy atmosphere.
The first step is to encourage people to treat food as more than just fuel for the body.
Consider a typical day at your workplace. Your employees have assignments and tasks to complete. Indulging in quick but unhealthy food options is very easy to do in such situations.
So, let us see how you can promote proper nutritional awareness in your workplace.
Build Awareness and Education
First of all, your employees have to realize the effects of healthy foods. Only then can they implement it in their lifestyle. They must have information about proper nutrition so that they associate it with their health and overall well being.
All your employees need is an educative discussion or a seminar. Conducting one will help inform them about the essence of good nutritional habits. The workplace is a great platform to reach out to individuals about their nutrition and diet.
The Institute for health metrics found that poor nutritional choices impact health status roughly three times as low to no fitness.
It could be possible that your employees are already trying to healthily. But they might not have the information or know how to do so, leaving them frustrated and exhausted. Moreover, this will create health issues and workplace stress and won’t benefit you as an employer. Neither will it benefit the health and well being of your employees.
Likewise, their mental health will also suffer.
Ways of promoting proper nutrition
Some ways to create and encourage employee awareness would be to -
- Request a nutritionist or health expert to conduct an on-site informational seminar.
- Conduct full health checkup for employees to set a baseline for healthy living. It will make them aware of any underlying problems and how to combat them.
- Provide a dependable source of information about proper nutrition.
- Add on-site cooking lessons, classes, or discounts for such.
- Provide discounted consultations with nutritionists.
- Provide informational lessons on proper nutrition, health, and safety.
- Send out new healthy recipes every week.
- Implement informational health strategies to combat illness through healthy eating.
You must ensure not to provide too much information and overwhelm them. Keep in mind your primary goal of keeping your employees informed. Doing so will divert them away from any confusion.
Also, it would be great to tell them where they can go for proper advice on matters of healthy nutrition.
Understand Your Employees
Understanding what the workplace’s current situation is the first step. The right approach would be to talk to your employees about changing their nutrition choices. Then you could instill changes in their lifestyle.
Take this initiative as an example -
A particular company formed an employee wellness team. They aimed to gauge the preferences of fellow employees and their views on food and wellness activities. This probing enabled the employer to see how healthy his employees were in general.
You must grasp a simple understanding of your employees’ preferences. It will help you in creating a plan of action, letting you come up with innovative and practical ideas, facilitating the promotion of proper nutrition in your workplace.
Do not be invasive when you go around gathering information. Ensure your employees that you respect their personal space and preferences.
Health-Oriented Options in the Workplace
You might be able to increase the number of healthy food options in your workplace. You could do so without taking away the other existing options. Your employees won’t feel as though they are being controlled.
They will instead notice your well-intended efforts promoting proper diet and nutrition. Because at the end of the day, it’s up to the employee to decide what they want to eat.
In an ideal workplace, employees want and need a wide array of food options. One thing is essential while promoting healthy food options at the workplace. HR professionals should not impose on their employees.
Canteens offer great potential to improve employees eating behavior. Furthermore, employees tend to engage in impulsive decision making. So, when it comes to their food, environmental cues can also push them in the direction of more healthy choices.
Furthermore, canteen offerings should be predominantly healthy. This way, healthy food would be made more attractive (e.g., putting it on display, appealing presentations), increase healthy choices among employees.
Promote Healthy Snack Options
Conduct awareness campaigns on healthy snacking. For busy employees, healthy snacking is vital to achieving good health. The lack of healthy snacking options causes employees to indulge in foods with lesser nutritional value and benefits.
Healthy snacks like fruits and nuts are very nutrient-dense. They are loaded with antioxidants and minerals are easy to digest and heart-friendly. They are healthy and filling at the same time.
Create Group Activities and Challenges
Get your employees involved with health-oriented wellness challenges. Wellness challenges promote health awareness, increase employee engagement, and also improve workplace mental health.
Conduct cookery workshops in the workplace. Create team weight loss challenges in exchange for rewards. The ideas are endless.
People are more likely to be motivated when they have a chance to try new things. Above all, they will learn how to install healthy eating into their lifestyles.
Create Working Relationships with Local Businesses
Let healthy food outlets in your locality trade on your premises. Offer your employees deals and discounts. Doing so will promote awareness of proper nutrition.
As a result, this will give your staff a variety and create networking opportunities. At the same time, it will enhance the local business community.
Learn from the World’s Biggest Companies
Big companies focus a lot on the health and wellbeing of their employees. They create comprehensive programs designed to facilitate good health. Employees are encouraged to make the right decisions regarding nutrition and health.
For example, in Google's cafeterias, the healthiest products are placed at eye level. They use small plates and small serving sizes. Also, healthy food items are available at all times. These steps can be considered and implemented by all companies.
The Verdict: Does Nutrition have such an impact on health in the workplace?
Healthy eating is a fundamental aspect of a healthy lifestyle. What we eat and how we eat impacts our actions in day to day life.
Consequently, nutrition plays a very crucial role in determining the health and well being of your employees. It's an underestimated and overlooked factor when promoting good health in the workplace. Also, it boosts the productivity of your employees as a whole.
A healthy workplace environment should support healthy eating. It contributes to the health and well being of all employees.
Proper nutrition helps to maintain energy levels and concentration. It helps to keep healthy ranges of body weight. As a result, this helps in the prevention and management of chronic diseases and health issues.
Nearly half of all deaths caused by heart disease, diabetes, and stroke can be linked to poor diet choices (JAMA).
Therefore, as an employer, it is crucial to promote good nutritional habits in your workplace. Promoting health in the workplace also helps in building a positive company image of caring and social responsibility.