We could be wishing our colleagues a happy birthday with a bunch of grapes instead of a cake, if employers follow a new health guide created by Business in the Community, in association with Public Health England.
Our culture for celebrating good news with a slice of Victoria sponge or a jam doughnut has fallen foul of health officials who instead, suggest employers have a conversation with staff about how special events are marked at work – suggesting cake days are shared or the cake itself substituted by a healthier alternative.
The new guide points out that ‘employers have a responsibility to provide safe workplaces that do not damage an employee’s health and provide environments that support healthier lifestyle choices. Healthy employees drive a healthy business.’
A healthy workplace is a good one – staff take fewer sick days and are more productive during work hours. There are statistics to back up the thinking too. Public Health England has calculated that the cost of an unhealthy workforce costs the UK taxpayer more than £60 billion every year.
While it’s not time to completely consign the cake to the bin, it opens the conversation up about employers encouraging healthier lifestyles in the office. Here are some office design and other ideas to think about:-
- Make your kitchen inviting – If your kitchen is looking neglected, staff will be more inclined to eat out and perhaps make bad food choices. A kitchen refurbishment with a new fridge will encourage staff to store healthy home-made lunches somewhere safe and clean.
- Stock your fridge – Maybe not with chocolate cake but as an employer, you could have a food supply delivered every Monday so your fridge is full of healthy food during the week.
- Provide somewhere to eat – Even if it’s a small break out area, having somewhere to sit and eat lunch within the office is a good way of counteracting staff nipping out to a Greggs. Add colourful bespoke office furniture and a gaming zone and your employees are sure to feel engaged enough to stay in the office.
- Think about a communal dining table – If people can eat together, they will be influenced by the types of food their peers consume. Set a good example by installing a big table and tucking in to a super food salad.