For those of us fortunate enough to have just finished over-indulging over this past weekend’s Thanksgiving dinner, it is time that we seriously consider the effects that food have over our employees and how this can affect not only your waist line but your bottom line as well! Pardon the pun.
You may ask should an employer be concerned about the healthy eating habits of their employees. Well aside from reducing the risk of heart disease and other more serious illnesses, eating healthier can elevate their mood and energy levels as well as increase their self-esteem. Most importantly, it helps to also reduce stress and anxiety.
Since the economy has tightened over the last few years, there has been more work for fewer workers and leaving those that do have jobs with the responsibility of carrying a much heavier workload. It has been my personal experience while working in the mainstream corporate world, that many employees have grown accustomed to a coffee and bagel breakfast that they picked up on the way to the office, or eating lunch at their desks or even “at all” and then due to working longer hours, either picking up a processed dinner or again replacing it with more coffee or a skipped meal altogether.
Therefore, it is very important for an employer to encourage healthy eating habits among their employees. Please keep in mind healthy eating programs should be voluntary – not everyone will join or be interested. Also, workplaces that are going to start a healthy eating program should also make sure that wherever their employees get their food – whether it is vending machines or cafeterias that they offer healthier food choices there as well.
When planning a health program for your employees, it is important to understand your team and know what interests them.
Understand WHY people are interested in a healthy eating program. Are participants looking for general nutritional information or more specific programs such as heart health or increasing their energy levels?
If any programs have been offered in the past, consider which ones worked and which did not.
Most importantly, give your employees the opportunity to eat their meals “guilt free” and with the adequate TIME that they deserve.
If your company has not already considered the importance of maintaining healthy and happy employees, you may want to re-consider. The increase in heart disease, diabetes and stress has become very apparent in today’s work environment and investing in your employee’s well being by introducing and encouraging healthier eating should be a must. Remember, that while employee’s morale increases so will the overall productivity of your company!