From healthcare reimbursements to fitness challenges, many organizations are trying to find the best practices to boost their employees’ wellness. However, most wellness programs are still missing out on one key part: Nutrition. Healthy eating culture is a factor that can make or break your corporate wellness program. If you ask us, it’s one of the most crucial and overlooked ways to enhance employee wellness.
The regular working adult spends at least 8 hours a day at work (not including the commute). This is over half of the average person’s waking hours! This means that the health choices an employee makes at work will significantly affect their overall wellness.
As the saying goes:
“We are what we repeatedly do” – Aristotle
So let’s think of it this way:
Imagine a person who is normally fairly healthy when they are at home. They eat home-cooked, fresh meals, stay active by working out, and make sure they get enough sleep and sun. But the picture looks a little different at work. At work they’re sitting most of the day, taking few breaks to stretch or move around, have high stress levels, and their lunch options are limited to vending machine snacks.
If this imaginary person spends over half of their waking hours at work with the workday health habits we just described, would you consider them a healthy individual? Probably not.
Since most workers spend most of their waking hours at work, it’s imperative that companies provide wellness support. Such support goes a long way in maintaining a healthy and cooperative team, work satisfaction, and optimal productivity.
Proper nutrition is one of the basic pillars of optimal health. So it’s no question that it should be high on the list of priorities when creating a corporate wellness program. Let’s look into why focusing on nutrition is one of the most powerful ways to boost your corporate wellness program:
1. Diet has the strongest effect on health
Many corporate wellness programs focus on fitness, weight loss, and other general health indicators. That’s all great, but these efforts can be in vain if there is no focus on diet.
Of all health habits, diet is the most likely to influence general wellness. If you think fitness classes and intense workouts can balance out an unhealthy diet you may want to think again. A poor diet is about three times more detrimental to your health than a lack of physical activity.
The good news is that this also works the opposite way: Just improving your diet can boost your wellbeing and overall health. A healthy diet can reduce your risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer! It will also boost your energy and make you more likely to feel motivated to engage in other healthy habits like regular exercise, proper sleep, and stress reduction practices.
2. Healthy Eating Boosts Productivity
The food we eat affects the way our brains and bodies work. Reducing the intake of processed foods that are high in sugar and trans fats has significant effects on cognitive functions.
Numerous studies have shown that generalized symptoms that affect productivity, such as lack of energy, poor concentration, brain fog, and lack of motivation, can be significantly relieved through diet intervention alone.
Making an effort to encourage healthy eating and making it accessible in the workspace can largely boost employee productivity.
In an effort to understand and sum up the effects of healthy diet intervention in the workplace, this systematic review from the Perspectives in Public Health Journal analyzed multiple studies and publications regarding nutrition and productivity. Their findings showed that there is enough evidence to believe that a healthy diet does in fact improve productivity.
Unfortunately, the food that is easily accessible to many office workers is limited to high sugar, pre-packaged snacks (like those found in vending machines), or processed, hyper-palatable foods from fast-food chains or nearby restaurants that tend to be high in calories, processed fats, and refined carbohydrates.
3. Well rounded wellness efforts improve employee retention rates
Health and wellness initiatives in the workspace can significantly boost employee satisfaction! Employees with access to well-rounded wellness programs at work are more likely to recommend their place of work to others.
Providing access, or setting initiatives in place to encourage healthy eating can boost the results of other wellness strategies. By doing this companies can not only support productivity and work efficiency in their teams but can also ensure higher rates of employee satisfaction and morale.
A study by Towers Watson and the National Business Group on Health showed that companies that provided a good corporate wellness program experienced 6% less voluntary employee turnover.
Bottom line: Wanna keep your employees for longer? Keep them healthy!
4. Investing in healthy eating can save A LOT!
It’s easy to see healthy food or corporate wellness programs as an extra cost. But the truth is that these initiatives can actually save companies thousands of dollars in the long run.
Harvard researchers reported that organizations can save up to 6 dollars in medical costs, and health-related work absenteeism for every dollar they invest in wellness initiatives.
Let’s take a look at how these numbers add up:
An average corporate wellness program can cost a company around 8 dollars per employee every month.
Imagine a company with 100 employees. This company would spend 800 dollars a month ($9,600 a year). With this investment, this small company could be saving over $57,000 every year!
Now imagine what these numbers would look like for larger companies!
How much can companies save with healthy eating solutions?
There is a common misconception that healthy food options are more expensive. The truth is that companies are already spending thousands of dollars in the efforts to keep their teams fed.
For companies that rely on food delivery services, the cost of their meals can range between $20-$25 per person. For those who rely on traditional catering, this cost can be around $15-$20. All-encompassing wellness solutions can lower this cost significantly as service fees and other hidden costs can be avoided while focusing on quality food. Check out our UpMeals solutions to see how the cost compares to other means of feeding your team.