Food at Work Can Help Your Employees Stay Healthy

Your employees spend most of their waking hours at work. So, it’s no wonder that what they eat at work has a major and direct impact on their health. What they eat at work also has a direct and major impact on your bottom line.

The Cost of an Unhealthy Workforce

Providing insurance to employees is only a part of your organization’s overall health expenses. The other part is the high price you pay due to your employees’ poor health. In fact, indirect costs of poor health may be several times higher than direct healthcare costs.

These indirect costs include extra expenses relating to additional healthcare costs, loss of productivity, and absenteeism. There is also a problem with what’s called presenteeism. That’s being physically present at work but functioning at less than full capacity due to illness, stress, or other personal issues. Presenteeism can cut individual productivity by as much as one third.

There is one huge reason why you should care about the health of your employees. Unhealthy employees cost you money. According to the CDC, productivity losses related to personal and family health problems cost U.S. employers $1,685 per employee per year.

Unfortunately for many people, what they eat during work hours contributes to them being overweight or obese. According to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, more than one in three adults are overweight and more than two in three adults are considered to be overweight or obese. When it comes to overweight and obesity, there is also a significant cost that employers must bear. It’s been reported that employers spend between $450 and $2,500 or more per year in medical expenses and absences.

Invest in Lunch as a Benefit

One way that you can have a deep impact on your employee’s health is to provide them with lunch each day. Through your lunch program, you can give your employees healthy food that satisfies everyone’s diet requirements.

Investing in healthy programs at work, such as lunch as a benefit, has a huge ROI. Research tells us that medical costs fall by about $3.27 for every dollar spent on wellness programs. That same research also shows that absenteeism costs fall by about $2.73 for every dollar spent. That’s a big deal.

Helping Your Employees Stay Healthy

Fortunately, most of the causes of an unhealthy workforce are preventable just by reducing behavior-based risk factors. In addition to providing lunch as a benefit, here are a few tips that will support your employees’ overall health while they are powering through their workday. Your employees will find that a few small adjustments can make a huge difference.

1. Encourage your employees to not skip breakfast

Your employees have busy days and preparing for work can be just as busy. Still, it is important that they don’t skip breakfast. Oddly enough, skipping breakfast has been linked to increasing obesity and the risk of diabetes. So, encourage your employees to eat a healthy breakfast.

2. Encourage your employees to not skip lunch

Food is fuel. They won’t be able to be at their best if your employees don’t fuel up at lunch. Also, eating lunch helps prevent them from overeating at dinnertime.

3. Make a healthy lunch convenient

This one is on you. By providing a free daily lunch as part of your lunch program, you have the ability to offer healthy food options. Not only are you making eating convenient, you are making eating healthy convenient.

4. Discourage eating and working

Eating while working is called distracted eating. Although it may be difficult to believe, distracted eating contributes to obesity because it can cause people to eat more during that meal. Also, paying attention to a meal is linked to eating less later on.

5. Encourage your employees to socialize during lunch

Socializing has positive health benefits. So, do your best to get your employees up from their desks to socialize during lunchtime. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to invest in a lunch program that brings lunch to a central location. While in that location, employees will have many opportunities to strike up personal and work-related conversations.