Nutrition in the workplace – The impact of food on employee wellbeing

Nutrition in the workplace – The impact of food on employee wellbeing

How do you keep your employees happy, your company culture positive, and your ROI healthy?

Investing in employee wellbeing can be one of the best things your company does. With a direct link to boosting productivity and loyalty, reducing absenteeism due to poor health, reinforcing company culture and improving overall employee satisfaction.

With nearly eighty percent of employees stating that company perks play a large part in attracting and retaining them over the next 10 years, and 67% of SMEs finding it difficult to hire and retain the best talent, it’s no wonder these businesses are looking to expand their benefits strategies.

But where do you begin to decide which wellbeing methods to implement? Which are the most effective and what will drive the best returns? Because fundamentally, whatever your business decides to invest in, there will be a team of people looking for a return on that investment. This is why more and more companies are starting to focus their efforts, turning to the one thing that impacts everyone in the office… lunch.

The power of food and nutrition

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” – Virginia Woolf

As Virignia Woolf quite rightly stated, food is fundamental to a person’s ability to function well and thrive. Not everyone will care about a complimentary gym membership, but everyone needs to eat, and it is therefore an interesting space to explore within the workplace if you’re looking to implement a holistic, health-centric perks package.

A Feedr study reports that over half of office workers are likely to either skip lunch or make the unhealthy but convenient choice on a busy work day. Yet despite this, 88% of the same group reported to believe that they feel better at work when they’re able to eat healthily on a regular basis. So it seems there is a disparity at play here. People are aware that eating healthily will make them feel better, and from this, we can infer that in turn their productivity and general wellbeing will improve too; and yet there is an accessibility issue of healthy food in the workplace. From poor ‘grab and go’ lunch options on the high street and unhealthy onsite canteens, to days filled with back-to-back meetings making it hard to step away from the office, it’s clear that many workers are struggling to eat well on a daily basis.

So what can employers do?

By making the healthy option the convenient one, and even better, the cost-effective one for your team; implementing a few simple changes will go a long way to change employee behaviour and drive healthier food habits in your office. Whether it’s something as simple as a fruit bowl or a more established perk like subsidised lunches, the aim should be to provide education, convenience and cost-efficiency.

It has also been shown that teams who know each other on a social level also collaborate and work together better. So fostering a culture of social lunches eaten away from the desk is one great way to facilitate the kind of interaction that leads to these strong working relationships. 

For more ‘food at work’ ideas to benefit your team’s health, wellbeing and overall performance, keep reading.

Provide fridges and space for healthy snacks

Helping your employees eat better is all about making the better choice the more convenient one, and you can do this in a few ways.

By arming your office with a fridge, microwave, cutlery and basic condiments, it will be easier for your team to bring in and store their own lunches when they are in the office. Food prepared at home is often the healthier option and also a money-saving one (although a big bland), killing two birds with one stone!

Another cost-effective way to encourage healthy food choices is to provide healthy breakfast options. By supplying fruits, nuts, yoghurt and healthy cereal options like muesli and high quality granola, you’ll encourage your staff to start their day with the right type of fuel.

A personalised food program

This type of nutrition perk enables you to offer free or discounted lunches to employees – either paid for in full by the company or partially funded, giving employees access to discounted meals.

What’s more, by making the program flexible with a variety of different food vendors, you can offer lots of choice, so employees can eat exactly how they want, regardless of their dietary requirements and taste preferences.

Feedr is changing how leading businesses in London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Dublin eat at work. Our platform provides employers with a simple and flexible solution for implementing and managing a food program, whilst offering employees a personalised ordering experience. Designed to enable individuals to eat exactly how they want, no matter their dietary requirements or taste preferences; our customers see an employee engagement rate of 80% after 3 months of using the service.  

Education is key 

Understanding is the key to success. If your employees know what constitutes a healthy diet and how poor nutrition impacts both the body and mind, they may be more likely to make the right choices for their health and wellbeing. 

Educating your team on healthy eating and wellness may seem a little rudimentary, but for a lot of individuals nutritional best-practice just simply isn’t front of mind, or for some may be unclear. Oftentimes people just need a nudge in the right direction, or to be inspired into action.

Ideas to bring minds together on the subject of nutrition at work could include:

  • Team ‘lunch and learns’ with talks from nutrition or wellness experts
  • Internal comms such as emails, posters or sharing relevant content to help push the message of healthy eating and bring it into their daily awareness

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

Even mild dehydration causes fatigue and slows brain function – so make it as easy as possible for your employees to stay hydrated at the office.

Providing company branded bottles, water coolers or perhaps just fruit infused water jugs will help. Stocking up on a range of herbal teas is also a great way to keep your team hydrated. It may also encourage them to step away from their daily afternoon coffee and inevitable caffeine crash, in exchange for a less caffeinated fruit or mint tea.

Make your food practices part of the company culture 

Underpinning all of these examples is the importance of embedding these practices within your company’s culture. Fostering healthy practices across the business will positively reinforce the message you’re giving out and will in turn drive better engagement.

Lead by example, encouraging senior leaders to attend a ‘lunch and learn’ or to set time aside in their calendars for a weekly team lunch in the office. Culture is implemented from the top down, so it’s important that your leadership team are on board and able to get involved.

Employee wellbeing on a plate

Office food delivery for businesses - Feedr's Cloud Canteen

With so many of us eating at least one meal on days where we’re in the office, many top businesses have partnered with Feedr to provide healthy, high-quality lunches to fuel their teams and provide a better employee experience.

How does it work?

  • Sign up to Feedr’s Cloud Canteen 
  • Choose to offer your team free or discounted meals 
  • Choose from 150+ healthy vendors to shape your food program – breakfast, lunch or dinner 
  • Employees order themselves from a menu that changes daily 
  • We arrange free delivery to your office
  • Managers have full oversight and control with our admin portal

Discover the most flexible and scalable way to feed your team

Whether you’re feeding 50 or 530, breakfast, lunch or dinner, we’ve got you covered.