Increase Employee Productivity Through Healthy Meals
Have you noticed a slump in your employees’ morale? Do they, perhaps, seem sluggish and unmotivated? And is it showing in your office productivity levels? If you’re trying to figure out what could be affecting your workers’ productivity, the first thing you might think to fix are your company's processes. You might try to improve workflow structures, provide ongoing training, and more… But, one important thing you may overlook is how, when, and what your employees eat.
Yup, we said it! Your staff’s diet matters. And it's not about counting their calories or anything like that, it's simply about productivity. The kind of foods people eat affects productivity – so does whether meals are eaten during the day or not. Let's take a look at four ways employee meals affect productivity and how well-balanced options can increase performance.
We’ll also show you how your organization can take advantage of this by sharing ways to introduce meals for your workers with Farmer’s Fridge.
How Employee Meals Can Help Increase Productivity
We all know that what you eat can directly influence your well-being. That said, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the saying, “you are what you eat” goes for work performance, too. If the meals we choose affect our well-being, the effects will be seen across many aspects of life performance including productivity and even focus and teamwork while at work.
We want everyone feeling their best both in the office and out so here are four ways that having healthy employee meals can fuel productivity:
1. Healthy Meals Provide Good Fuel
Think about your car for a moment. It functions on a very specific type of gas, allowing it to run smoothly and at its best. If you were to use a different type of gas, you’d notice the engine struggling and its performance not up to its usual standard, right?
Our bodies are pretty much the same. Think of it like this: Healthy and unhealthy foods are different grades of fuel therefore the kind of food will directly impact performance. Meals with high carb and sugar levels can negatively affect productivity because they give short-term benefits followed by energy dips. We understand that finding the right fuel is tough, let alone when you're limited on lunch time. Ensuring every one of the meals on our menu have a full serving of fruits and vegetables was our way of solving the problem.
Having high-carb breakfasts impacts brain hormones, tryptophan, and serotonin, affecting your focus, cognition, and mood. So, employees may be attentive and focused for a bit before hitting an unproductive slump that could last the rest of the day. On the other hand, healthy meals offer sustained energy that can keep employees running all day long!
The effects of unhealthy meals can actually continue beyond that workday into the next. For example, a study found that when people engaged in unhealthy eating, they experienced physical and emotional issues the following day. This included stomach issues like diarrhea, headaches, exhaustion, shame, guilt, and more. These affected their performance at work during the course of the day.
2. Enhance Company Collaboration Culture
Did you know that 62% of workers in the United States have their lunch at their desks? Employees just don’t seem to be taking lunch breaks anymore! And while it may appear more productive for workers to munch down while continuing their work, it has the opposite effect on their general productivity. Those who take their break at lunch daily generally have higher satisfaction with their jobs and experience higher levels of productivity.
However, the benefits of employees taking a break from their work for meals go far beyond the individual level. Employees taking lunch together has amazing benefits for your company culture and morale, which can also enhance productivity. The relationships and dynamics built over a shared meal can boost collaboration and enhance operations.
When employees don't take lunch, it may become a missed opportunity for brainstorming, mingling and socialization, collaboration, and team-building. All of these factors have an important bearing on how your team can work productively and harmoniously.
Even for remote working environments, lunch culture is important. Due to the positive effects on mood, productivity, and more, remote workers can contribute to the team better when they’re well-fed. It can also make them feel better supported and less stressed, making them feel like they're part of a team and an organization that cares.
3. Better Eating Habits Mean Better Sleep
Food doesn't just affect how you run, it impacts how you rest too. A diet lacking in nutrient- and vitamin-rich foods can lead to sleeping problems while a high-carb, high-sugar diet affects sleep quality. And we all know how important a good nights’ sleep is! Your diet has a direct effect on your sleeping patterns. For example, when you consume high-carb foods, it can increase the number of times you awaken during the night - leading to fitful, restless sleep.
Of course, if you’ve ever had a sleepless night before a workday you know exactly how bad sleep can alter your performance. Poor sleeping patterns impact productivity, alertness, focus, cognitive abilities, decision-making, mood, and more.
4. Meals Allow For Clear Decision-Making
You know how it’s always said that you should avoid making decisions when you're mad? Well, the same goes for when you're hungry. When you’re hungry, your body secretes a hormone known as ghrelin. Also known as the hunger hormone, ghrelin affects your impulsivity, cognitive abilities, and your capability for decision-making.
That’s why, when you're really hungry, you don't think about reaching for a salad. Instead, you go for breads or sugars, knowing the effects they will have on your body and productivity. This almost plays out like a cycle because consuming food like this leads to a spike in your blood sugar levels. These spikes give you a short-lived energy supply before crashing.
Along with the energy plummet, you’ll be hungry all over again which may lead you to reach for those sweets again. Healthier foods like our salads, wraps, and bowls, on the other hand, sustain your energy levels. They also keep you full for longer so you don’t have massive dips in productivity.
5 Ways To Introduce Employee Meals For Higher Productivity:
At Farmer’s Fridge, we provide convenient and smart services that make providing healthy employee meals a breeze. With a nutritious and rotating menu, we can offer your employees foods that give them just the boost in creativity they need. It doesn't hurt that our meals are also tasty!
Here are some simple ways to start your productivity-positive employee meal system today:
1. Once-a-week Themed Meals
Consider having one day a week when you offer food to your workers. Think about Taco Tuesdays, for example. It’s a fun way to make meals an office priority and give your teams another thing to look forward to together. Pro tip: try turning it into a weekly team lunch to get more people involved. Wrapped Wednesdays, anyone? This is an employee benefit that shows appreciation for your team!
2. Snack Corner
While we all love a good snack, did you know snacking can contribute to a healthy and balanced diet? When your employees are trying to hit deadlines, they might forget to bring healthy snacking options such as fruit or yogurt to keep them going. Here's a solve: Consider providing employee snacks around the office like our Dark Chocolate Trail Mix or keep snack options near the office watering hole.
3. Packaged Meals
Having an in-house kitchen and cafeteria team means more costs on pantry stocking, cleaning supplies, and wages. With packaged meals, you can provide wholesome food for your teams at a more affordable cost to your company.
We provide healthy, ready-to-eat individually packaged meals like salads, wraps, sandwiches, and bowls delivered fresh. You know your employees best which is why we also offer wholesale service options – consider this your route if you'd prefer to add our portable meal offerings to an existing cafeteria, employee lounge or common space. That way, everyone can have what they like and it’s all healthy fuel.
4. Smart Fridges
Our regularly stocked Smart Fridges also emphasize convenient yet healthy eating for employees. These work like vending machines except you can offer free, per diem meals via the app or employees can pay using their credit or debit cards.
The fridge menu includes breakfast bowls, drinks, salads, snacks, and wraps. Plus, we take care of installation, stocking, cleaning and more!
5. Meal Subsidies
Subsidies are another great option for meal provision at work. This is something we personally love to offer our employees! This can be as straightforward as giving your workers meal coupons for their lunches – Farmer's Fridge provides coupon codes for our Fridges so your employees can vend with ease. You can also consider reimbursements, meal allowances, and more.
Our Smart Fridges support meal subsidy plans by allowing employers to cover some meals bought for their workers. Anyone can easily can use our Farmer’s Fridge app to deduct subsidies while placing an order – let us show you how!
Not only does food increase productivity, offering this type of employee perk can help with retention too.
Food is an essential part of how we live. It affects how we feel, function, perceive, and even how we think. It's no wonder it can have such a profound effect on the way we work!
Whether in an office environment or a remote working space, remember that both if and what your team had for lunch can directly impact their focus, cognition, decision-making, mood, and more. So, if you're looking to support your team on all levels, consider setting everyone up success by prioritizing the food made available. They'll love you for it.
Farmer’s Fridge started in 2013 selling fresh, healthy meals from refrigerated vending machines in places like airports and hospitals. Now, we’re bringing our individually packaged meals and snacks straight to retail locations, offices, universities and more through our Fridges and wholesale options. Want to see Farmer’s Fridge on your shelf or use our products to feed your organization? Learn more or get in contact today.