BY RACHEL WHITFORD
AREA MANAGER – CITY OF LONDON AT EXPRESS VENDING
While most employers recognise the importance of investing in and implementing workplace health and safety strategies, some haven’t been as quick off the mark to encourage healthier lifestyles.
If businesses want to improve productivity, they need to act. Statistics show health-related lost productivity costs the UK approximately £77.5 billion a year, with unhealthy employees 66% more likely to be less productive at work.
There are plenty of effective steps that employers can make to improve nutrition and wellness, helping to maximise employee productivity and engagement.
Food for thought
According to recent statistics, the UK is failing to follow the ‘five a day’ message when it comes to eating fruit and vegetables.
Moreover, physical activity is on the decline, with 1-in-4 women and 1-in-5 men defined as inactive in England, and failing to meet the recommended physical activity guidelines for adults.
With so few of us managing to strike the right balance between good food and exercise, employers have a responsibility to step in and help bridge the divide.
Worryingly, half of the UK’s workforce never leaves the office at lunchtime; drastically limiting their food and drink choices to what’s available in-house.
This highlights the need for employers (who can) to offer wider selections of food and refreshment options with a focus on nutrition.
Employers able to make the change should identify a catering partner that understands their vision and can work towards a shared goal.
At Express, we recognise a one-size-fits-all approach isn’t effective. That’s why we have worked with nutritionists and specialist companies to identify an array of healthy snacks suitable for vending machines which give employees choice.
These machines feature a tablet-like screen which displays key product information to enable your workforce to make an informed food choice based on nutritional factors.
By making affordable and healthy food accessible throughout the day, staff can re-energise with mid-morning snacks or afternoon pick-me-ups which aren’t damaging to their health or productivity.
Designated dining areas can also help companies establish a strong sense of community. Companies can explore implementing a break-out area for staff that don’t venture out at lunchtimes – or can’t due to remote office locations to encourage them to take a break away from their desk.
No matter the size of the company, workforce or budget, it is possible to give employees healthy and nutritious food.
Get the whole team on board
You’ve acknowledged change is needed and have a plan in place. Now, you need the backing of your team, which is can sometimes be easier said than done.
Businesses can outsource services to educate and inform staff about the benefits of a healthier lifestyle. This can be done in a series of ways but, for maximum impact, companies should try and seek out fun and innovative ways to drive home the message.
Hosting workshops with nutrition experts or chefs will enable businesses to explore additional nutrition-based perks with their staff.
Measuring the return
When it comes to measuring the success of your company’s initiative, you can introduce in-house group meetings, monthly surveys, frequent one-to-one discussions and online forums to monitor the impact of change and gauge ROI.
Use your business objectives to monitor the success of the scheme and measure your progress towards achieving these goals. By seeing how the two compare, businesses can assess whether changes are required.
Monitoring absences, staff morale and staff productivity levels can provide valuable insight into the effectiveness of your health and wellbeing program, make the business case for further investment and shine a spotlight on which areas require more attention.
If you are interested in more content like this, we investigated the rise of healthier vending options in Issue 11 of Refreshment magazine. To find out more about the magazine or to sign up for a free trial, click here.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019
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