The holidays are officially over. After weeks of abandoning exercise and restraint when it comes to eating, many employees have made New Year’s resolutions to lose weight and get in shape. For 2019, polls indicate that 38% of Americans have made losing weight and exercising their number one resolution. Unfortunately, it is no surprise that very few of us actually keep this resolution. According to statistics, 92% of people don’t keep their New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, eat healthier, and get fitter. Most people give up on their resolutions within the first few months of the year.
Coming to work where there are break rooms and vending machines loaded with donuts, cookies, sugary snacks, and drinks can present huge difficulties for employees that have resolved to watch what they eat. According to research conducted by the Center for Disease Control, the effects of obesity and poor health cost U.S. companies more than $225 billion per year in lost productivity. Therefore, it makes sense that it should be worthwhile for employers to support their employees when it comes to keeping those weight loss and exercise resolutions.
One of the easiest ways for employers to support employees is to provide healthy snacks at work. Providing company paid snacks at work as a recruitment and retention tool is one that saw significant increases last year. According to SHRM’s 2018 Employee Benefit Survey, 32% of employers surveyed offer company-paid snacks, up from 22% in 2017.
Some of key reasons to offer healthy snacks include:
- Attract top talent – In the war for talent, employers are looking for ways to set themselves apart from competitors. With so much of our waking hours spent at work, employees are expecting much more from their employers than an office kitchen that provides nothing more than coffee and a vending machine. Employers should consider posting pictures on their website of employees enjoying the healthy snacks provided at work. When potential new hires come to interview, take them on an office tour and be sure to include a stop in your kitchen.
- Show appreciation – Stocking a work kitchen with some healthy snack options sends a message to employees that you care and appreciate their hard work.
- Increase networking and collaboration – HR professionals know that there is no better way to get employees to attend meetings and functions than to provide food. Snacks in the office kitchen will be a natural draw for employees to meet up, spend a few minutes talking and exchanging ideas, and collaborating in an informal environment.
- Improve focus and productivity – Throughout the day, it is typical to experience energy slumps especially in the afternoon. When employees are hungry or eating poorly, they can get distracted and lose focus. It is easy to grab snacks loaded with sugar and carbs that result in a quick boost of energy. However, 30-45 minutes after eating a high sugar snack there is typically a corresponding sugar crash that leaves individuals feeling sluggish, irritable, and lethargic. Research shows that eating healthy food affects brain function. Maintaining even glucose levels fuels the brain and improves focus and memory leading to increased productivity. Keeping a well-stocked kitchen will also encourage employees to stay on-site and not run out to local convenience stores to pick up snacks.
- Encourages breaks – With sitting deemed the new smoking, taking breaks to stretch, walk, and clear the mind is important for overall health. When there is a kitchen with food options, it is more enticing for employees to be willing to take that break.
Most employers looking to add employer paid snacks don’t have budgets like google or other Silicon Valley employers that spend millions every year in food costs for employees. But offering just a few simple options can make a big difference in employee satisfaction such as yogurt, pretzels, protein bars, trail mix, and fruit. If employers are still concerned about cost, an option is to subsidize the cost of items in a vending machine. Buy in bulk and shop around. Employers may be surprised that offering healthy snack options does not have to be an expensive perk.
Employers should be careful though to make healthy eating an option, not a mandate. Nothing can create morale issues quicker than completely removing pop and all sugar snack options and making the HR department the food police. Sweets can be a part of healthy eating if done in moderation.
Source: 5 Powerful Advantages of Healthy Snacks at Work, According to Experts - TINYpulse