Nutrition plays a vital part in the prevention of various health diseases.
There are numerous factors that can affect individuals’ dietary behaviour. Therefore, it’s extremely important to reflect on the impact this may have on your team’s overall wellbeing.
The WELL Building Standard® seeks to implement design strategies and policies within the work environment that increase access to healthy food options. The overall aim is to promote better health and wellbeing through nutrient quality.
Poor dietary patterns can be detrimental to our health both in the short and long term. High consumption of sugar has been linked to a number of health implications such as diabetes, obesity and depression. Depression as discussed in our previous blog, negatively impacts employees’ mental wellbeing, resulting in poor productivity and concentration at work.
Over the years we have witnessed a drastic change in cultural food practices. Our busy schedules and longer workdays are increasingly leading to unhealthy food consumptions. The convenience of eating on the go and snacking can become all too tempting for a lot of us. This can have countless consequences such as:
• Low fatigue
• Decreased mental effectiveness
• Lower energy levels
• Reduced ability to concentrate
• Decreased productivity.
Providing healthy nutrition in your workplace can greatly contribute to preventing all of the above.
The International Labour Organisation found that poor nourishment can reduce productivity by up to 20 per cent. Employees who consumed regular fruits, grains and vegetables had higher levels of productivity compared to those who had an unhealthy diet. We suggest equipping your work environment with communal eating areas. This can encourage mindful eating behaviours as employees interact and monitor each other’s dietary patterns.
The consumption of fruit and vegetables can prevent sluggish feelings that inhibit creativity and productivity levels. In our office, we inspire our team to have at least one of their Five-a-Day fruit and vegetable intake through daily organic deliveries. This is a great and easy way to promote healthy eating and wellbeing in your workplace on a regular bases.
Creating an environment that inspires healthy nourishment throughout the day can prevent various health related issues. A 2016 report from Penn State University academics suggested an iron-deficient diet can impact attention span and slow down reactions. To improve iron intake and cognitive performance consider providing red meat, nuts and seeds. With this in mind, you will need to design a kitchen area equipped with enough storage space to keep food fresh for longer. We followed this when designing the storage and catering facilities for Saranac Partners’ office fit out.
In stressful environments it is especially important to monitor specific dietary habits such as excessive sugar intake. It’s a vicious circle where stress alters eating patterns. People suffering from stress are more likely to crave foods that are high in fats and sugars. Promoting the consumption of foods high in Vitamin B5, such as eggs, chicken, and nuts, can consequently reduce stress and enhance mental reaction to tasks.
In our office, we help decrease stress levels by designing break out areas to encourage socialising. Incorporating communal eating spaces in your office places focus and thought primarily on the process of better eating habits. In addition, they are also a great approach to reducing stress caused by isolation during meal breaks.
Educating your team about the relationship between nourishment and health can further improve their eating patterns. This can be achieved through monthly nutrition sessions that inform and offer a variety of nutritious food options. Developing individuals’ knowledge of a healthy dietary lifestyle can impact both their present and future wellbeing. It can also reduce sick leave days caused due to varies health issues. In 2010 obesity accounted for 18 million days of sickness absence. The indirect cost to business through loss of earnings due to sickness from obesity rose to £3.6 billion from £2.58 billion in 2004. This highlight the importance of investing today, for a WELL future tomorrow.