Your Office Snack Pantry Is Killing Productivity. Here’s How to Fix It.

Changing company culture and offering low-cost, healthy office snacks

Henry Tan

9/23/20213 min read

According to research conducted by the Center for Disease Control, the effects of obesity and poor health cost U.S. companies more than $225 billion per year in lost productivity. Many businesses are at a loss for how to take action. At their worst, health programs can be invasive and overbearing, with negligible results. Though no similar studies are replicated in Singapore, the effects of poor dietary habit and the impact it has on mental and physical well-being are readily seen.

While nothing is wrong with enjoying the occasional indulgent snack, making a habit of it can have deleterious effects on employee quality of life, productivity, and even morale. Employers need low-cost methods of encouraging healthy behavior, and those that do it well enjoy dramatic long-term business advantages.

In other words, employee health is a big deal and has far-reaching effects. First, let’s take a look at how the quality of your employees’ diets can affect their lives and personal productivity. Then, we’ll discuss how food interacts with company culture and projected success.

Then, we’ll provide a few action steps you can take to show your employees that they matter by helping them make healthy food choices at the office, where they spend the bulk of their waking hours. Finally, we will make a few suggestions for nutritious treats you can keep in the office to help employees satisfy their craving for snacks without eating something full of artificial ingredients or unhealthy fat.

The Effect of Food Choice on Your Employees

Everyone knows eating healthy food is, well, healthy. But many people would be surprised just how much difference a healthy diet can make. Here are just a few ways food choices can impact your employees and their well-being:

Diet affects brain function and focus

Even if employees are healthy and working in the office, their food choices still affect the workplace. When employees are hungry or eating poorly, they tend to get distracted more easily. This makes them less able to focus, less productive, and even grumpy.

Research shows that food choices actually affect brain function. For example, a 2011 study published in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews discussed the “glucose memory facilitation effect,” which posits that maintaining an even glucose level fuels the brain and improves memory. If you create opportunities for your employees to eat snacks including fruits, vegetables, antioxidants, and healthy fats, you’ll be helping them maintain proper glucose levels. Later in this article, we will suggest healthy snacks to keep in the office.

Lack of protein can cause the afternoon slump

We’ve all experienced this. Sometime between 1 and 3 p.m., sometimes you begin to feel sluggish and sleepy; your vision might blur; you might have trouble concentrating; you might even feel moody; you might get a headache or stomach ache. Most people assume this is natural and will head to the kitchen to get coffee assuming they just need some caffeine. However, it is possible to get rid of the afternoon slump—by drinking more water, not skipping meals, and limited carb and sugar intake. To help combat this issue, make sure you offer easily accessible water and healthy snacks for employees. That way it’s easy for them to stay hydrated and choose a suitable afternoon snack to keep them content and productive. A healthy body often means a healthy mind!

Diet affects general health and quality of life

Yes, diet does affect an employee’s productivity level and performance at the office, but businesses should (hopefully) care about their employees’ quality of life as well. A workplace’s positive influence on food choices “as part of a workplace health program can influence [employees’] long-term health and wellness,” according to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety website. Specifically, healthy eating programs can reduce risk of heart disease and cancer; boost mood and self-esteem; decrease anxiety and stress; promote healthy weight loss; and increase energy to spend time with family and friends outside of work.

Providing snacks and meals will save your employees money

If employees purchase snacks every week or buy lunch every day, that can add up. Providing the occasional lunch or keeping your office stocked with healthy snacks will not only help your employees make healthier eating choices but also save them money, and everyone appreciates that.

Serving up Success at the Office

Now that you know how food can affect your employees, how you can help them make positive choices, and what you can bring into the office for healthy snack choices, it’s time to implement some of these ideas into your workplace. You may not be able to change the whole office’s relationship with food in a couple of days or weeks, but employees will notice if you begin making an effort.

Before you start budgeting to provide your employees with 15 meals per week or fill the entire kitchen every day, take a deep breath. A simple change goes a long way!

Smooder offers a healthy and enjoyable snack that your employees can consume at any point in the day. Not only does it improve the dietary intake of satisfying the daily requirement of 2 servings of fruits and vegetable per day, it will also supercharge the nutrition and vitamins that your body requires. Why wait? Give it a shot and see the difference!