Workplace wellness is now mainstream and recognised as being a top priority for organisations in 2017. January is now over, I set out with good new year’s resolutions to be fitter, eat better, drink less alcohol and do more exercise etc. I have been wondering what the stats are on people keeping their new year’s resolutions. A quick google revealed that only 10% of people actually feel they succeed in achieving their healthy eating resolutions.
Public Health England says that obesity is costing us around £20 billion a year. We know that being obese or overweight can increase the risk of developing a range of serious diseases. The risks rise with BMI. Back in 2004 the Wanless report ‘Securing Good Health for the Whole Population’ compared obesity to smoking in terms of associated diseases and a determinant of future health.
Eat well at work
We developed our DARE Delicious And Responsible Eating initiative in 2000. We felt it was right as a responsible caterer to provide our customers with information about eating well and let them decide for themselves.
16 years later it’s even more important. The Professor and clinical adviser to Public Health England’s ‘One You’* campaign launched in December, said: “The demands of modern day living are taking their toll on the health of the nation. Busy lives and desk jobs make it difficult to live healthily. But just making a few small changes will have significant benefits to people’s health.”
Customers could be forgiven for feeling confused about what those few small changes should be. Every week there’s another conflicting food story. Last week it was toast and roast potatoes. Nothing is off limits. I even read that one of the founders of ‘clean eating’ has disassociated himself with the movement, so bang goes the kale and goji berry smoothie for me!
Companies are increasingly talking about the importance of employee wellness; how it impacts on productivity, engagement and motivation. The majority of an employee’s time is spent at the workplace.
It’s not only physical wellbeing; mental health and wellbeing are also being talked about openly in the workplace without fear of judgement. It’s a scientific fact that food affects mood. Eating regularly, remaining hydrated and getting the right vitamins and minerals boosts brainpower.
Support is key to implementing a successful workplace wellness programme. We the caterer have a key role to play in supporting the facilities manager, HR director and anyone responsible for workplace wellness, to achieve their goals.
5 tips to support workplace wellness and healthy eating at work
- KISS – Keep the message simple. i.e Eat well with DARE.
- Nudge not nag. For most people, hearing about the benefits of eating healthy food is a more effective push to change their behaviour than hearing why they shouldn’t be eating processed foods.
- Convenient – food has to be offered in a way that’s right for the customer. Make it easy to eat healthily, don’t make all the grab and go the less healthy option. Or the healthy lunch the one you have to queue for.
- Attractive – beautifully presented, attractive packaging, enticing names and evocative descriptions of the provenance all contribute towards raising taste expectations That’s why we say that DARE is delicious first.
- Popular – healthy food shouldn’t look and feel like the ‘worthy’ and alternative option. It should be totally normal.
According to researchers at Cornell University, we make 200 food decisions every day and 90% of them are instinctive. Our role as responsible caterers is to make sure the instinctive choice always provides opportunities to be the healthy choice.
*’One you’ by Public Health England encourages people to reappraise their lifestyle choices, put themselves first and do something about their own health.