Health and wellbeing has a direct effect on workforces; and so, nutrition and hydration should be of the utmost importance while at work. Countless studies have proven the negative consequences of being dehydrated or malnourished – and so from a business point of view, employers simply cannot afford to neglect the needs of their staff.
Food has a direct impact on our cognitive performance, which is why a poor decision at lunch has the potential to derail an entire afternoon. Just about everything we eat is converted by our body into glucose, which provides the energy our brains need to stay alert. Equally, the European Food Safety Authority recommend we drink between 1.6-2litres of water per day; and yet they report that many people struggle to even consume one glass.
Dehydration and malnutrition can negatively alter our ability to function effectively at work. In younger adults, for instance, dehydration has been linked to a dip in concentration and short-term memory, as well as an increase in feelings of anxiety and irritability.
Dan Kelly, Director | Food at London’s premier catering company, Vacherin, believes that companies have a duty to actively encourage their employees to change their eating habits, in order to have a healthy impact on the overall wellbeing of the workforce.
He states: “We have a monthly ‘Food in Focus’ programme which is an opportunity for us to help our clients understand some basic science and the truth behind certain key foods in our diet. By understanding what we eat, we can achieve a realistic dietary balance that is sustainable and the key to ensuring a happy, productive work day.”
He continues: “We have also recently launched our ‘Better For You’ range, focusing on best-loved classics, made healthier. The range features ingredient alternatives that significantly improve your favourite meals from a nutritional perspective, without compromising flavour. For example, the blueberry and turmeric cake is a particular favourite of ours; using quinoa instead of flour, packed full of protein, omega 3, antioxidants and even gluten free – it makes a sweet treat a great deal Better For You.
In a world that is becoming increasingly focused on providing spaces that support wellbeing and encourage productivity, we need to also focus on the services on offer, such as catering, in the mission for a healthy and ‘well’ workplace.
Creating a workplace entirely focused on wellbeing is no easy feat; it requires time, money and effort from all involved. Ultimately, however, the process helps your staff to be comfortable, healthy and happy and most importantly it allows them to do their jobs! Caterers need to lead by example in this endeavour and work with their clients to offer balanced menus and encourage healthy nutritional choices.