Think HBR

Eating smart in the workplace

Paul Siderovski
SiDCOR Chartered Accountants
How do I get more productivity out of my employees?
How do I stop my employees energy levels falling off the cliff after lunch?
Providing your employees with a more BALANCED work environment is not just good for them, it's good for business. A good diet results in lower absenteeism, higher productivity and better work performance, so influencing employees eating habits is not just a moral issue, it's good business.
When people are hungry, their mental acuity may lessen and their blood sugar may drop. While many employees understand the importance of eating throughout the day, too often they either consume unhealthy foods or forget to eat a meal like skipping lunch or waiting too long between meals.
Business owners are increasingly investing time and effort to implement educational programs and health promotion strategies in the workplace that are aimed at enhancing employee performance. When designing and implementing these new initiatives, however, the role of healthy eating and nutrition can often be neglected. What and when an employee eats is one of the key determinates of how well they will perform. Most people don’t realise that energy levels and moods can be traced to what was or was not eaten up to twelve hours earlier.
By promoting a basic understanding of nutrition in the workplace, employers and workplace health care professionals can encourage employees to adopt healthier eating habits. The resulting increase in energy and more positive attitudes will reinforce the importance of diet and nutrition.
The key to maintaining consistent energy levels throughout the day is to eat three meals and three snacks, and to include an adequate amount of protein with each. It really is that simple, however, few people maintain a proper diet.
There are many reasons for this, but often, it is simply a lack of understanding of the basics of nutrition. By adding snacks, energy levels can be maintained at a consistent level throughout the day, instead of peaking and then bottoming out before the next meal. Many organisations now recognise that healthy eating can have a dramatically positive effect on the work environment. Conversely, they realise that the work environment itself can also influence the health of the employees. At SiDCOR we have begun to work with workplace healthcare professionals to develop and implement programs, which will encourage healthy eating and lifestyles among the employees.
What and when one of my employees eats while not at work cannot be controlled. However, promoting proper nutrition during working hours can encourage my employees to develop new habits and routines which will likely carry over into all areas of their lives.
Education and awareness should be the starting point of any program. Employees will not see the benefits of adopting healthier eating habits if they are not aware of the connection between food and energy.
There are many ways to provide information using methods that will generate interest and encourage changes:, lunch time information sessions, “theme” weeks, healthy recipe exchanges, and poster displays are some examples of how employees can be introduced to healthier eating. The workplace environment should be considered when developing a program to encourage nutrition awareness and healthy eating. Needs can vary according to the environment and type of work. Within an office environment, management should be encouraged to introduce policies that will support a corporate healthy eating program. This can include encouraging meeting organisers to serve muffins, fruit, salads, and juice at meetings instead of donuts, pizza, coffee and soft drinks. The contents of vending machines can be changed to offer healthier snacks for breaks Educating employees about the relationship between eating patterns, energy levels, attitudes, and overall health is an opportunity to positively impact the success of your business. These initiatives can encourage employees to consider the positive effect that health awareness can have on their overall health and well-being. The more you care for your employees, the more they will care for you.
For further information contact
SiDCOR Chartered Accountants on (02)4926 5299
or email
Paul Siderovski2 Paul Siderovski

The founder and Managing Director of SiDCOR Chartered Accountants, has 21 years experience since starting as a chartered accountant with PricewaterhouseCoopers in 1995. Paul started Newcastle-based SiDCOR in 2002. Paul has a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Newcastle and is a Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Taxation Institute of Australia as well as the National Tax and Accountants Association.