The Role of Nutrition in Ensuring a Healthy and Engaged Workforce
For businesses struggling to improve productivity, consider taking a closer look at workplace nutrition and how it impacts overall employee health and wellness.
Nutrition is critical in ensuring health and wellness. A recent Harris Poll survey revealed 61% of individuals had unwanted weight changes during the pandemic, with 42% experiencing weight gain. Some of the risk factors included lack of sleep, midnight snacking, poor dietary restraint, sedentary lifestyle, and stress 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.
COVID-19 Impact on Nutrition
The COVID-19 pandemic effects have been unprecedented. Restrictions significantly affected the daily lives of many—including shopping habits and, ultimately, eating behaviors. Lockdowns and limitations on amounts and types of food that can be ordered and stored have led to some households making less healthy food choices. Additionally, the pandemic caused psychological pressures that led many to engage in stress eating while preventing people from engaging in their usual exercise habits.
Why Workplace Nutrition Should Be Prioritized
Nutrition has a direct impact on overall health and longevity. 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:
- Easy fatigability
- Poor mental health
- Increased stress levels
- Decreased energy levels
- A decline in cognitive ability
Conversely, a healthy diet can promote employee wellness. Workers who eat well tend to feel better and enjoy better productivity and morale, with reduced stress levels and decreased absenteeism.
Tips on Improving Employee Health and Wellness
Business leaders can implement a wide variety of strategies to improve employee health. 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.
Come up with Healthy Eating Programs
Some practices to encourage healthy eating habits include:
- Make health and wellness a part of company culture
- Supply in-office healthy snacks employees can enjoy throughout the day
- Provide fresh vegetables and other healthy options in the cafeteria
- Use water as the default drink served in meetings and conferences
- Remove vending machines containing unhealthy food options
Active Promotion of Nutrition Awareness
Strengthen the practice by having a continuous promotion of nutrition awareness. Impactful and engaging nutrition campaigns and employee workshops on health and diet are also low-cost strategies companies can use. Start conversations about easy, low-cost, healthy recipes. CoreHealth's Nutrition 101 challenge encourages your employees to undergo a new healthy eating habit each week for six weeks. This Challenge combines educational components with some
simple nutritional goals to take you to the head of the class. If you want your employees to increase their fruits and vegetable intake, our Eat the Rainbow interactive challenge can help them to track their intake which is categorized by the colors of the rainbow.
Host a Health Promotion Event
Ask the HR team to come up with a dedicated health promotion event employees can participate in. For instance, walks, following a heart-healthy diet during National Heart Month in February, or abstaining from alcohol for National Liver Month in October.
Companies can also implement workplace wellness challenges addressing physical activity, wellness, and management challenges for stress and weight.
Making these events part of the company culture can help employees develop healthy food and nutrition habits.
Minimize Workplace Stress
Strive to minimize workplace stress among your employees, and recognize that stress eating can indicate employees are nearing burnout. A survey showed that 20% of employees have gained weight due to changes in their diet, and this was mainly caused by work-related stress.
Workplace environments can have a positive impact on employee health and wellness. When promoting a healthy eating program, it is essential to ensure people have access to healthy food choices and are aware of what nutrition and healthy eating entails.
To learn more about keeping employees healthy and engaged, contact us.
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.
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