Have you noticed lately that you aren’t entirely on your game, your attention-span seems sluggish, or you’re burned out by 3 pm? It could be that you are too busy juggling work, life, and family to focus on work. Or it could be that what you do or don’t put in your mouth is affecting your performance. We all get busy and forget to take care of fueling our bodies on occasion. Partnership Employment believes that a healthy workplace is essential, so we’re here to help with three reminders that when applied, can have positive effects on wellbeing, performance, and profits.
Sticky Note #1: Eat breakfast!
According to a 2015 study, 50% of Americans consistently miss breakfast, skip it altogether (21%), or grab a fat and salt-filled fast food item at a drive-through or convenience store (43%). When we don’t feed our bodies after a long night’s fast, we put ourselves at risk of over-eating or eating the wrong kinds of foods when the 10 a.m. doldrums kick in. Suddenly that donut turns into two, and lunch becomes a carb and grease-fest at the local Brisket Barn. According to studies, those who eat breakfast, tend to have better overall nutritional profiles, while those who skip may have higher risks of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure (Journal of the American College of Cardiology).
Think of breakfast like fuel for your car; you wouldn’t take a trip running on fumes. And revving up your career means you should be at your best. Research by the ILO shows it is possible to boost your productivity 20% by refueling before you go to work – a win for you and your company!
Here’s a tip to save you time: Plan work meals on the weekend. If you are always in a hurry getting out the door, whip up a quickie protein-based smoothie drink with veggies and fruits you’ve cut up and frozen in advance. Prep a bean or grain salad and one soup on Sunday afternoon that you can grab on the fly for work lunches or when energy levels get low.
Sticky Note #2: Say ‘Yes!’ to healthy snacks
You might be thinking, “I have a good diet, eat breakfast every day, and exercise” but then you reach for that ever-present office perk: the breakroom donut!
In the office, food is all around us. It’s on the boss’s desk, at the water cooler, and in your top left drawer. Employees accustomed to having their Halloween candy or leftover party foods consumed by their co-workers are now having to compete with those companies offering 20% of workers free meals and snacks. An NBC News article offered some insights into why we snack at work: treats are close, in view, they are free, and we eat them because we are burned out, stressed, or procrastin-eating.
While weight gain might not be a worry right now, excessive sitting and lack of exercise, combined with mindless snacking, can cause long-term health effects and economic loss. Numerous studies, including this 2017 metastudy, consistently “confirm that overweight and obesity have substantial short-term and long-term indirect costs” including loss of productivity while at work (presenteeism), sick leave (absenteeism), and higher costs on healthcare insurance and pension systems (Goettler, Grosse, & Sonntag, 2017).
A tip is to be mindfulabout what and when we eat. Rather than spiking blood sugar with a candy bar, cola, or over-caffeinated energy drink, why not hydrate first with no-calorie sparkling water? That might be all you need. If not, eat that juicy peach you brought from home or dip into the protein-filled hummus with your pre-packed green veggies. Your glucose levels will be stable, you won’t gain weight, and you’ll still feel energized when the clock strikes 5:00!
Sticky Note #3: Call HR about a workplace health program
Healthy eating begins with individual choice. But companies like Partnership Employment know they can help by promoting beneficial wellness habits. Like most HR initiatives, workplace wellness programs involving nutrition won’t work well without environmental strategies that target modifying how, where, and what food is consumed. It’s time to ping your HR manager if your workplace cafeteria doesn’t include reasonably priced healthy options or your breakroom vending machine is filled with junk food. Healthy choices are more natural if those around you are on board. Health-focused workplace cultures often include exercise rooms, encourage lunchtime walking groups, and regularly email wellness solutions and tips. Managers can emphasize healthful breakroom snacks or even install a blender bar for fruit and veggie smoothies. One fascinating study in the British Journal of Health Psychology showed that people who ate more fruits and vegetables reported increased feelings of well-being, curiosity, and creativity compared with those who did not. For businesses, curiosity and creativity often translate to innovation, achievement, and intrapreneurship.
Make a choice to power start each day with proper nutrition and educate yourself on nutrition while practicing self-awareness when it comes to making food choices at work. Partnership Employment knows that workforce health and safe work environments pay big dividends in job performance, reduced absenteeism, and lower healthcare costs. If you are looking for a new career, give us a call today to discover what is available in your area!
Breakfast habits, nutritional status, body weight, and academic performance in children and adolescents.
Gail C. Rampersaud, Mark A. Pereira, Beverly L. Girard, Judi Adams, Jordan D. Metzl
J Am Diet Assoc. 2005 May; 105(5): 743–762. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2005.02.007
Cahill, L. E., Chiuve, S. E., Mekary, R. A., Jensen, M. K., Flint, A. J., Hu, F. B., & Rimm, E. B. (2013). Prospective study of breakfast eating and incident coronary heart disease in a cohort of male US health professionals. Circulation, 128(4), 337–343. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.113.001474
Goettler, A., Grosse, A., & Sonntag, D. (2017). Productivity loss due to overweight and obesity: a systematic review of indirect costs. BMJ open, 7(10), e014632. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-014632
National Breakfast Study By Instantly Reveals Evolution Of American Breakfast Habits. (2015, August 18). PRNewswire. Retrieved from https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/national-breakfast-study-by-instantly-reveals-evolution-of-american-breakfast-habits-300129427.html