How Healthy Eating and Company Catering Can Boost Employee Productivity

Posted by on Friday, January 3rd, 2014 with 2 Comments

Do you ever notice a sense of listlessness, lack of concentration, or just general loss in productivity at the office? Before you begin to worry about motivation and company morale, look at what your employees are having for lunch. Research shows that employees’s eating habits can have significant impact on their productivity.

A 2012 study in the journal Population Health Management found that employees who ate an unhealthy diet were 66 percent more likely to experience a loss in productivity than their counterparts who regularly consumed fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The difference in diet was more likely to make an impact on productivity than exercise habits (50 percent) and smoking (26 percent).

hardworking women on laptops

Employee productivity can be highly influenced by diet.
Image source: flickr user WeKCo

Interestingly, productivity loss was more likely to show up in younger employees (30 – 39) and less likely in those 60 and older. And clerical or office workers were were far more likely to report decreased productivity than employees working in industries like construction and farming — meaning that these findings have potentially huge impacts on the majority of today’s workplaces.

“Total health-related employee productivity loss accounts for 77 percent of all such loss,” said Ray Merrill, the study’s lead author and a health science professor at Brigham Young University. The study didn’t just focus on missed days of work, but on what the authors refer to as a lack of “presenteeism” — employees who come into the workplace, but don’t perform their best.

Obviously, this loss in productivity can lead to substantial financial consequences. What’s a company to do?

office lunch with coworkers

Focusing on the food served in the office is the first step to improving employee wellness.
Image source: flickr user LinkedIn

Johnson & Johnson is one corporation that famously puts a high priority on employee wellness. Their company-wide wellness programs include health-risk assessments, corporate cafeterias serving nutritious food, digital health coaching, and on-site fitness centers (or Wii Fit machines!) in most of their U.S. workplaces — from warehouses to corporate offices. Their program is often cited as a successful example of employee wellness programs translating to health care cost savings, but Johnson & Johnson doesn’t only look at insurance costs as evidence that their program is worthwhile.

“We see this as one of our competitive advantages,” Fikry Isaac, vice-president of Johnson & Johnson’s global health services, told National Journal in June. Johnson & Johnson knows that healthier employees not only translate to lower health care costs: they are more productive, missing fewer days of work and having higher levels of the “presenteeism” Merrill and his colleagues examined in their research.

healthy sandwich and fruit

Eating whole grains, veggies, and fruit can increase energy all day.
Image source: flickr user Justin Snow

Even without employee gyms or on-site cafeterias, any company can focus on improving their food offerings to promote wellness and productivity. Rather than stocking the break room with sugary treats that may impair memory and concentration, provide healthier options like nuts, berries, and green tea — all considered brain-boosting snacks.

Improve employee morale and concentration levels by serving a healthy office breakfast on occasion, with a menu focused on nutritious foods like oatmeal or egg white omelets instead of doughnuts and pastries. Order healthy takeout for office lunches or ensure your company catering plan includes a wide variety of nutritious food.

Start by putting an emphasis on healthy food in the office, and the company-wide conversation about employee wellness can grow from there. The expert team at Waiter.com is ready to work alongside you, building a culture of wellness and a team of healthy, productive, well-fed employees!

When it comes to feeding employees and coworkers, make your company's food program really count! If your workplace dining plan needs to take it up a notch — or if you don't have one at all — Waiter.com is here to help. From Virtual Cafeteria Service to diverse menus to local takeout & deliveryWaiter.com offers customizable dining solutions for every business and budget. Contact us today to get started!

2 responses to “How Healthy Eating and Company Catering Can Boost Employee Productivity”

  1. Charlie Khuna says:

    I totally agree – love this article thank you. We’re trying to spread the same word here in Hollywood, Los Angeles about the values of Catering and how corporate catering can increase happiness and productivity.

    Hollywoods Best Catering
    7095 Hollywood Boulevard, #454
    Hollywood, CA 90028

  2. Shelly says:

    Thanks for the tip!

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