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How Nutrition Affects Employee Wellness

October 31, 2021
June 21, 2023
Creative business team working together on desktop pc in office

Unless you are an elite athlete training for Olympic glory, you may not notice that your nutrition is a major influence on your performance at work. Sure, we know that those doughnuts at break time aren’t doing a lot of good for our weight loss goals, but at the same time there aren’t exactly a lot of healthy food options at most workplaces across the country - and sometimes you just crave something fast, cheap, and easy to eat on a schedule.

Poorly stocked cafeterias and vending machines are usually the only “on-site” food options that many workers have. In our fast-paced and hectic lives, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a full half of workers in America claim that they’re unable to take a full lunch break. The alternative, all too often, is a candy bar and a bag of chips eaten hastily while working through lunch.

In this short article, we’ll take a look at why your business should consider incorporating a corporate wellness nutrition program. Specifically, we’ll explain why employee nutrition programs can actually save your company money by improving employee productivity levels while cutting back on missed days due to chronic illnesses most often associated with poor diets such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.

Lastly, we’ll offer a few ideas for how you can implement programs and policies that help motivate better nutrition in the workplace.

Why Business Owners and Managers Should Care about Nutrition In The Workplace

Proper nutrition plays an extremely important role in mental performance. When people do not fuel their brains with the proper nutrients, memory problems, fatigue and an inability to concentrate for long periods of time are likely outcomes. Obviously, workers suffering from these problems will see their productivity levels significantly drop.

According to one recent study
, “eating unhealthily is linked to a 66% increased risk of loss of productivity. In fact, total health-related employee productivity loss accounts for 77% of all such loss and costs employers two to three times more than annual health care expenses.”

Besides drops in productivity, unhealthy nutrition is also obviously linked to a variety of chronic health problems including obesity, chronic heart disease, and diabetes.

Recent research has determined that
“individuals with diabetes had between 5.4 and 18.1 days of absenteeism per year compared with
3.4 to 8.7 days for individuals without diabetes. However, it is important to note that the number of
days lost from work due to illness among individuals with diabetes and depression was much
higher (78.5 days per year).”

A Few Strategies For Encouraging Nutrition Awareness In Your Team

Obviously, what one decides to eat is largely a personal matter. If one of your employees enjoys eating an extra-large Meat Lover’s pizza every day for lunch, changing that habit is probably a long-term goal!. However, many workers tend to adopt negative nutritional paradigms simply due to a lack of healthy options at or near their places of work, or the accountability that comes from being in an environment where being healthy is seen as a positive thing. You can start creating positive solutions for these factors today!

Depending on where your business is located, your employees may essentially be in a “food desert” for most of their day.

For example, perhaps your company is located in an industrial park where the nearest restaurant or grocery store is 15 minutes away. Most employees probably don’t want to spend their hour-long lunch break dealing with lunch-hour traffic Monday through Friday. If they don’t wake up early enough to prepare a lunch for themselves, then they’re probably reliant on whatever food options are available at the employee cafeteria.

To help your employees adopt better nutritional habits, an employee wellness program could incorporate some of the following ideas: 

  • Partner with a local caterer to offer discounted or reasonably priced healthy meals at the employee cafeteria. 
  • Furnish employee break rooms with refrigerators, toaster ovens, stovetops, and other needed cooking items to motivate employees to bring their own, healthier meals from home. Check out our meal prep tips below, and share them with your employees! 
  • Replace traditional vending machine fare with healthier snack options like nuts, raisins and other fruits. 
  • Organize weekly team lunches at health food restaurants nearby your office. Or, try a healthy food potluck. 
  • Offer classes or training on how to improve your diet, and the health benefits that come with better nutrition. 

Bring Nutrition To Work With Work-Fit

A company might also consider hiring an independent, third-party contractor to help incorporate better nutritional habits into a wider employee wellness program. Work-Fit is a nationwide leader in injury prevention and wellness for your workforce. Our employee wellness management program can help to generate important savings for your company by reducing sick days while simultaneously improving your employee´s productivity levels.

If you are interested in incorporating nutrition into a wider employee wellness management strategy, contact Work-Fit today to learn about how we can help your team.


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