Let’s do a thought experiment:
Aggregate all the seconds, minutes, and (god forbid) hours, you spend throughout a day in the office pining over pastries from the new café down the road, or carbonara from that classic Italian joint, or the weekend brunch that’s ever-approaching on the horizon. Take that sum and multiply it by the number of days you work in a week, a month, a year.
It becomes crystal clear, food affects your productivity in the workplace.
Just look at these cronuts…how could you possibly concentrate with these on your mind??
The relationship between food and productivity in the workplace runs deeper than your blissful foodie day dreams distracting you from your work. Poor nutrition from unhealthy or inadequate eating leads to lower productivity and deficiencies in micro and macro-nutrients result in slower brain functions and lower energy.
Which means that when you are hungry or are not getting high quality food you cannot perform your best. Your body and brain literally cannot do what you are asking them to, they are HUNGRY! In extreme cases, poor diet and nutrition can lead to chronic diseases and conditions such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes, and depression.
Bottom line: Quality, nutritious food is essential for both your health and your workplace success.
But, if we know how important food is, why oh why are so many people not getting the right nutrients?? Maybe you don’t have access to good food choices close to your work, or maybe money is tight, and consistently eating healthy seems expensive.
Conveniently placed vending machines, offer sugar, salt, and fat-laden snacks. Littering the corridors of your building with poor nutrition choices. Cheap fast-food options are always more tempting than healthy, expensive ones.
But, we know how important food is for our well being and we want to make good choices. So, as a group we have become increasingly assertive about what we put into our bodies.We need to bring this selectiveness into work.
As adults we spend about one third of our day at work, and we all know some of the worst food choices are made there. Its the perfect place to make a change! Bringing good nutrition and wholesome meals into the office improves the well being of everyone there.
An employer supplying good food to employees should be thought of in a similar way to an employer supplying health insurance. It’s all for the benefit of the company in the end. Healthy employees make for a healthy and successful company.
Believe me, it’s science.
On a physical level, providing good food enhances brain function and chemical processes. Studies have shown that just a 1% kilocalorie increase results in a 2.27% increase in labour productivity (Galenson and Pyatt, 1964). And on a social level, the enthusiasm derived from frequent exciting and interesting meal options elevates the mood and attitude of the entire workplace.
Just look at the corporate giants, and you’ll see what I’m saying. Companies like Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn offer workers a huge variety of food options, resulting in food becoming an integral part of the work culture. Employees at Dreamworks Animation are treated to “free breakfast and lunch every day, with a focus on healthy and varied options”. I have a friend who always visits the local Google headquarters when traveling, to get a great free meal and build comradery across the globe!
Employers have the power to ensure that employees are healthy and happy. By investing in nutrition, they are repaid in a reduction of sick days, accidents and an increase in productivity and morale. Seriously, I know I am soooo much happier when I am full. Hangry much?
Ultimately, food is an inescapable part of life. And (unfortunately) work is an inescapable part of life for most of us as well. Encourage your employer to provide healthy, delicious meals for you and your co-workers by showing how it is a great business decision which will pay back in spades.
Even if its just one catered lunch per week, wholesome, healthy meals will provide the fuel and nutrients to bring productivity and motivation to your work day.
 Wanjek, Christopher. Food at Work: Workplace Solutions for Malnutrition, Obesity and Chronic Diseases. Geneva: ILO, 2005. Print.
 “Dietary Diseases.” Dietary Diseases. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2016.
 Baldoni, John. “Motivation By Mouth: Does Free Food Make For A Happier Workplace?” (2013): n. pag. Web.