Encouraging healthy eating in the workplace
We all know that healthy eating makes a difference to our mood, health and our energy levels. In turn, this is bound to influence workplace absenteeism, motivation and productivity, so it’s certainly worth promoting good nutrition at work. Evoke Projects looks at what your business can do to encourage healthier eating.
The International WELL Building Institute has included Nourishment as part of their ‘WELL Building Standard’, which aims to promote health and well-being through building and office design. Although most features apply to workplaces that provide food to employees through on-site canteens, there are some metrics that are generally applicable and worth considering for your next office fit-out or office refurbishment.
What is meant by good nutrition?
The International WELL Building Institute reminds us that regular consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables is the cornerstone of a healthy diet and can lower the risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Conversely, foods that contain highly processed ingredients tend to be high in sugar, calories and added fats, and have low nutritional value. The WELL Building Standard encourages the availability of fresh, wholesome foods and limits unhealthy ingredients for better eating habits and food culture.
Provide a communal eating space within your office design
We’ve all eaten a meal in front of the television or computer and realised that we didn’t properly focus on our meal. Usually, this leads to over-eating either at the time or later. Evoke Projects recommends that you include a break out area or communal eating space within your office design. This will encourage employees to take time out of their busy day to focus on their food intake.
If you are planning an office fit-out or office refurbishment, the WELL Standard recommends that:
Eating spaces for occupants contain all the following:
a. Refrigerator, a sink and a device for reheating food (such as a microwave or toaster).
b. Amenities for dish washing.
c. At least one cabinet or storage unit.
d. Eating utensils, including spoons, forks, knives and microwave-safe plates and cups.
Larger companies can add a communal cooking area to the office design
If people have access to an area that feels like a home kitchen, they are more likely to take time to prepare healthy meals. An extra large refrigerator and some healthy lunch recipe magazines might encourage more thought about a proper lunch, rather than a quick takeaway. You might even consider an outside gas BBQ if you have an outdoor communal area – what better way to encourage social collaboration after work? Creative ideas often flow in informal, relaxed sessions.
For communal cooking areas, WELL recommends at least one dedicated food preparation area per 30 occupants. Work with your office designer to plan an inspiring cooking area during your next office fit-out or refurbishment.
Help employees access healthy food options off-site
WELL reminds us that any establishment where food is eaten should provide access to healthy foods. They recommend that where food is not provided within the facility, at least one of the following is located within 0.8 km of the building, or free transportation is provided to:
a. A grocery store where a variety of fresh produce is sold, or
b. A market where independent farmers sell a variety of foods directly to market, open at least once weekly for at least five months annually.
Raise the game in your canteen
If you provide food to employees through a cafeteria or canteen, the WELL Building Standard has many other features to aim for. Please visit their website for more information or talk to Evoke Projects before your next office fit-out or office refurbishment.
Consider healthy eating seminars and cooking demonstrations
Nutrition Australia has services to help improve workplace performance through healthy eating. They will bring their ideas to your office with engaging seminars, cooking demonstrations, personal nutrition consultations and more. They can also work with you to create a healthy working environment by implementing organisational policies, and providing healthier foods and drinks in catering, vending machines and on site food outlets.
A new office fit-out or office refurbishment is a great time to think about general office wellness and ways to maximise healthy eating in your workplace. Please call Evoke Projects on 1300 720 692 to find out about office designs that focus on wellness.