The Power of Nutrition for a Healthy, Engaged Workforce
Rediscovering Healthy Eating at Work
A recent Harris Poll survey revealed 61% of individuals had unwanted weight changes during the pandemic, and 42% experienced weight gain. Some of the causes included lack of sleep, late-night snacking, poor dietary restraint, sedentary lifestyle, and stress-related over-eating.
Business owners know that healthy employees are critical in ensuring successful operations. A study of approximately 20,000 employees highlighted the importance of having a healthy workforce. Their findings show that workers with unhealthy eating habits were 66% more likely to slack off in their jobs. Similarly, those who rarely consumed fruits and vegetables were 93% more likely to be unproductive at work. From a business perspective, this can mean a loss of thousands of dollars in revenue.
“Total health-related employee productivity loss accounts for 77 percent of all such loss and costs employers two to three times more than annual healthcare expenses,” said Ray Merrill, lead author of the research. This means that singling out workplace nutrition can have a significant impact on business operations.
Given these facts, business owners should increase their focus on ensuring their employees have access to proper nutrition and are encouraged to maintain a balanced diet.
Benefits of Supporting Employee Nutrition
Nutrition has a direct impact on overall health and well-being. Individuals with poor nutrition are prone to develop chronic diseases, and these, in turn, can negatively impact the quality of life and productivity at work. An unhealthy diet can lead to:
- Poorer mental health
- Increased stress levels
- Decreased energy levels
- A decline in cognitive ability
- Higher risk of chronic diseases
- Higher risk of obesity
Conversely, a healthy diet can promote employee wellness. Workers who eat well tend to have:
- Improved total health
- Higher productivity and morale
- Lower than average stress levels
- Lower absenteeism
- Less incidence of chronic disease
- More energy
- Better quality of life
Image source: https://sightandlife.org/blog/workplace-nutrition/
Leveraging Nutrition to Boost Employee Wellness
Business leaders can implement a wide variety of strategies to improve employee well-being with nutrition. Here are some easy ideas to consider:
No matter how you promote healthy eating among your employees, not everyone will want to engage. Surveying your employees can provide information that will help direct the types and levels of programs to offer. Identify how many people are interested in a nutrition program, learn about what type of programs were offered in the past, and evaluate what worked and what didn’t work.
Create a Healthy Work Environment
Some practices to encourage healthy eating habits in the workplace include:
- Provide healthy snacks that employees can easily access. Nuts, fruit, dried fruit, water, nut butters, and whole grain crackers are great choices.
- Provide fresh vegetables and other healthy options in the cafeteria. A local farm delivery program can help automate this.
- Use water as the default drink served in meetings and conferences
- Remove vending machines containing cookies, candies, and soft drinks.
Each of these action items can help create a culture of health within your organization.
Active Promotion of Workplace Nutrition Education
Strengthen your workplace culture of health by continuously promoting nutrition education. Impactful and engaging nutrition campaigns and employee workshops about health and food are effective and lower-cost. For example, CoreHealth's Nutrition 101 challenge encourages participants to explore a new healthy eating habit each week for six weeks. This challenge combines educational components with simple nutritional goal setting, delivered as an engaging game. To help employees increase fruit and vegetable intake (and learn, or remember, why it's important), CoreHealth’s Eat the Rainbow interactive challenge can help them track their servings, while having a friendly competition among coworkers.
Offer Employee Wellness Challenges
Create a customized health promotion event that employees can participate in. For example, offer organized walking programs or encourage abstaining from alcohol for National Liver Month in October.
Organizations can also implement workplace wellness challenges that address various aspects of wellness (like nutrition, physical activity, steps tracking, mental health, stress reduction, and more). Another perk? These employee wellness challenges also help boost organizational culture and strengthening relationships among coworkers. Plus, making these events part of the company culture can help employees develop lasting healthy food and nutrition habits.
About CoreHealth Technologies
CoreHealth Technologies Inc. is a total well-being technology company trusted by global providers to power their health and wellness programs. Our wellness portals help maximize health, engagement, and productivity for 3+ million employees worldwide. We believe people are the driving force of organizations and supporting them to make behavior changes to improve employee health is in everyone’s best interest. With the most flexibility, customizations, and integrations of any software in its class, CoreHealth’s all-in-one wellness platform helps grow great wellness companies. Simple to sophisticated, based on you. For more information, visit the CoreHealth website.
About The Author
Your Friends in Health at CoreHealth
CoreHealth by Carebook's Health and Wellness Team works hard to bring our readers informative and research validate health and well-being blog articles and resources that support your workplace wellness culture and wellness technology purchase decision.