A good nutrition is one of those things that has a positive impact on every single aspect of your life. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that it has an astoundingly positive impact on one’s productivity, as well. Still, how does an employer benefit from this practice? Sure, you can urge your employees to prepare their own meals, you can send them memos about the importance of a proper nutrition and you can even hold presentations on the topic, however, at the end of the day, the end decision is theirs alone.
On the other hand, what if you were to start an office canteen or even distribute free meals amongst your workers. Of course, this can be an incredibly costly practice, however, would the boost in productivity that comes from this be able to justify the expense? If not, what other options are available? Let’s find out!
The very gesture of free food
First of all, there are some serious studies that indicate that distributing food amongst your employees boosts their morale. This is definitely something that comes quite natural, seeing as how food tends to be at the very bottom of the hierarchy of needs. In this way, you will not only prove that you care about the essential needs of your employees but also demonstrate an incredibly human concept of management. Surprisingly enough, in this way, you are using one of the baser needs in order to help your employees progress up the self-actualization ladder and gain an intrinsic motivation to work harder in your employ.
Better eating culture
The next thing that would have to change would be an eating culture around the office. The greatest problem with food that is usually available around the office is that it is often filled with trans-fats, sugars and carbs which, although delicious and nutritious, have a particular way of clogging your cardio-vascular system. In turn, this makes it harder for your employees to focus and significantly diminishes their performance.
In the long run, there are even some indicators that one’s poor nutrition in the long-run, could lead to the impairment of their cognitive abilities. As you can see, the problem is systemic, seeing as how most people are forced to eat unhealthy day in and day out for as long as they have such limited source of food choices.
One recent study inquired about the reason why in Japan, an average obesity in the adult population is at 3.5 percent, while in the U.S. it is well above 30 percent. According to the survey, the main reason behind this was the fact that in Japan, it is cheaper and more convenient to eat healthy. Sure, preparing your own food, made from quality ingredients, is possible regardless of one’s geographical location, however, when choosing between healthy and convenient, not a lot of people make the first choice. By starting your own office canteen, you will be able to rectify this major issue.
While it is true that starting your own canteen would be ideal, sadly, not a lot of SMBs can afford this. This is why such practices can usually be seen only around world’s largest companies and conglomerates like Google or Apple, whereas others have to fend for themselves. Nonetheless, a proper awareness campaign can more than make a difference. Don’t repeat the mistake that so many bosses make and try to go with scare tactics. Don’t go on and on talking about type 2 diabetes, heart attack and cholesterol. Instead, show everyone what the positive sides of good eating habits look like. In other words, always focus on the positive. As we all know, supportive leadership is one of the best strategies for increasing productivity of your employees.
For starters, as a leader, you need to start leading by an example. This means bringing your own food to work. This needs to be something healthy, simple to make and delicious in order to grab everyone’s attention. On the other hand, this is just one meal and the only way that your employees will know that you are keeping up with this practice at home is by looking at your physique. Therefore, you might also want to start frequenting gym (another positive habit you can hope to inspire) and looking into the benefits of food supplementation. Taking a quality protein supplement once or twice a day (whey or casein) can also make a huge difference. In fact, if you get a shaker as well, you can even take some of these delicious shakes to work.
Better quality of life in general
So far, we discussed direct positive effects of one’s nutrition to their performance at work, however, what about some unexpected, indirect boons. For instance, proper protein intake helps your brain cells regenerate while you sleep, which helps you be better rested in the morning. Apart from this, proper nutrition leads directly to improving your body-weight balance, which, in turn, helps people fight obesity. Needless to say, obesity is one of the main causes of sleep apnea, which means that, once again, eating properly will improve quality of one’s sleep and rest in general.
Apart from this, people who eat properly tend to be more energized, which is a, more or less, a direct boost to their work performance. For instance, staying hydrated helps one focus, however, a lot of people don’t go right about this in the first place. Energy drinks and sodas tend to contain a lot of electrolytes which further dehydrate you. Instead, drinking water or green tea might reverse this problem. Moreover, eggs, Greek yogurt, bananas and lean protein are also known to boost one’s energy level. Therefore, including some of these nutrients in your lunch or snack might be a good idea.
While some may deem this as too meddling, to you as an employer, the content of your employees’ plate needs to be the main concern. Of course, we’re not suggesting that you start harassing everyone around the office about their life choices, however, coaching your team about the positive eating habits and benefits of this lifestyle might be a great choice. For those who can afford it, distributing free food or even starting an in-house cantina packed with healthy meal choices might be a good idea.