Laziness May Be Key to More Productive Employees (and Healthier Corporate Catering)

Posted by on Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 with Comments Off on Laziness May Be Key to More Productive Employees (and Healthier Corporate Catering) Comments

The latest findings in behavioral nutrition suggest that laziness can make you healthier, and the research conducted could have a direct implication on employee wellness and corporate catering. Laziness, in fact, may be key to creating a more productive, healthier, and happier workplace.

And no, this isn’t an April Fool’s joke. It’s true… with a few caveats, of course.

table of bags of chips and fruit

Don’t let unhealthy snacks be the most convenient!
Image source: Flickr user Mike Pickard

A new study published in Appetiteand conducted by researchers at Saint Bonaventure University in New York, revealed that people will eat more of a healthy snack when it’s within arm’s reach — even when a more tempting treat is a little further away.

The study was relatively simple: 56 college-aged participants (of all body types) were instructed not to eat for two hours before coming in to complete a questionnaire. They were led to a table, sat down, and then left in the room unattended while the facilitator went to fetch the paperwork. Before departing, the facilitator mentioned off-handedly that they should feel free to snack from the food available if they liked.

dish of buttered popcorn

This tempting popcorn was less popular than apple slices – when it was further away.
Image source: Flickr user Bertalan Szuros

A third of the participants were left with a dish of apple slices within arm’s reach, and a bowl of buttered popcorn about six feet away. The second group was in the opposite situation — popcorn was close, and apple slices were further. The third group had both kinds of snacks within arm’s reach.

Guess who ate the most of the healthy apple slices? The group who was closest to them — even though they later reported they preferred popcorn as a snack more than apples. They just didn’t want to get up to reach it. While we hear all the time that you should keep healthy food within reach, this study is worth noticing because it goes a step further — we’ll eat healthy food that’s within reach, even when there is a tastier, more tempting treat in the same room.

Context could explain some of the results: coming in to complete an experiment might leave people feeling a little nervous, and they don’t want to make a fuss by getting up to gobble popcorn when there are perfectly good apple slices right in front of them. Where else might this situation apply? In the office! During meetings, if bowls of fresh fruit and heart-healthy mixed nuts are placed at each seat around the conference table, chances are very good that attendees will enjoy these smarter snacks — even if a tray of cookies is located just a few steps away.

dish of pears

Keep healthy snacks like fruit front-and-center in the office.
Image source: Flickr user Sameer Vasta

Research has shown in the past that employees who eat healthy food will be more alert, more able to focus, and more productive. There are endless ways to promote workplace wellness and healthy office snacks by leveraging laziness: keep cans of soda in a cupboard, and bottled water in the fridge. Put a bowl of fresh fruit on the break room table, and keep the candy on a higher shelf. During working lunches, keep a few veggie trays on the conference table, while the boxes of pizza stay on a serving table in the back of the room — attendees who want seconds will go for the easy, healthier target. Don’t limit options entirely, but make it easy for employees to make the healthier choice… which is a nicer-sounding way of saying leverage their laziness!

Promoting employee wellness is in everyone’s interest, and corporate catering can be your biggest ally — or undermine your best efforts. Help strike a balance between delicious and healthy with the wide range of menus and options available at And don’t think you’re being lazy by taking advantage of our easy online ordering and prompt delivery right to your door — our service is just another way to make your office even more productive!

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 — is here to help. From Virtual Cafeteria Service to diverse menus to local takeout & offers customizable dining solutions for every business and budget. Contact us today to get started!

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