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Snacking more in office boosts employee morale, says new study

Research shows that eating healthy food and snacks affects a person’s overall work performance. [iStockphoto]

Employees who snack regularly during the day are likely to be more productive than those who do not.

Corporate Essentials, a premiere coffee distributor in the United States (US) which helps “businesses create safe, satisfying spaces that deliver what your team craves” says that wellness, whose one key component is eating the right foods, is one of the surest ways to ensure workers hit peak performance.

Corporate Essentials, on its site, says that before a company dismisses the idea as having no benefits to the company itself, it should consider “the many reasons healthy office snacks can increase productivity and employee engagement.”

But this snacking should be healthy so the employees’ bodies are in prime condition, and such employees are firing on all cylinders.

“It’s well known that sitting at the computer or desk all day can lead to serious weight gain and loss of muscle tone, which increases all sorts of things (including insurance and health care costs),” the firm notes.

Research shows that eating healthy food and snacks affects a person’s overall work performance. It’s often said, “You are what you eat.” The truth is, food provides us with the fuel we need to perform our daily tasks.”

It is rare to find offices that have areas dedicated to snacking, or with a policy that provides for the company to supply snacks to its employees.

In many cases, employees who want to boost their energy levels time after time carry snacks in tiny lunch boxes and, when the time to nibble on a snack comes, they discreetly do so without ever stepping away from their desks.

Being fatigued

Research shows that while many employers would be happy to see employees take their lunch at their desks, such employees are often distracted and could easily, at such a time, be on social media, wiling time away.

Those that prefer to sit and continue working while eating, could end up being fatigued and, consequently, unproductive.

Workers who snack do not have it hard performing at peak level in the afternoons. [iStockphoto]

 

Corporate Essentials quotes Harvard Business Review’s findings which show that food has a direct impact on people’s cognitive performance, “which is why a poor decision at lunch can derail an entire afternoon.”

It observes that workers who snack do not have it hard performing at peak level in the afternoons, with energy levels high enough to match mornings’.

“The 2:00pm time or period becomes as efficient and productive as the 9.00 a.m. one,” the site notes.

The firm also notes that people are more likely to be eager to contribute to problem-solving in their places of work if they are constantly snacking.

The attitude in the workplace is generally good, and moods are high, which is likely to better both individual, and group, performance.

Problem finders

They are likely to also extend this positive energy to such a company’s customers, creating an ecosystem that favours productivity and promotes business.

“Because of this, work relationships can flourish. Suddenly, people become problem-solvers instead of simply problem finders. There is sudden energy within the office that becomes a positive hum instead of a drone of complaining,” the site explains.

Employees are more likely to be sharper and to attack assignments with more focus if they snack more.

They are also likely to give an output of much higher quality and to also give more in quantity.

The concentration is on a higher level when they take coffee, which is rich in caffeine, a stimulant, or even snacks that can boost their sugar levels.

“Offering healthy office snacks helps with increased focus and attention of your employees. Projects that seem daunting before aren’t so heavy once the fog of a sugar coma wears off. To increase focus, offer snacks like blueberries and green tea. Dark chocolate and nuts also have the ability to increase focus,” says Corporate Essentials.

Morale and employee engagement increase when there is a feeling of connection and belonging. [iStockphoto]

The site also indicates that setting aside a snack area creates a place that can be used to generate synergy for workers, with the time spent for snacking, and the space used, dedicated to interactions and bonding among workers, creating a more cohesive working environment.

“By providing healthy office snacks in a communal area, you’ll find there are benefits above the health and physical wellbeing of employees. Suddenly, this area becomes a place of social bonding,” noted the firm.

“Morale and employee engagement increase when there is a feeling of connection and belonging. By providing a place to gather and take advantage of the healthy foods, a company is giving an opportunity for social engagement within the workplace.”

Dieting patterns

Offering free food is also a trait that makes people more comfortable in their workplaces. It makes them feel more valued, thus motivating them.

Research christened, Relation of Dieting in College and High School Students to Symptoms Associated with Semi-starvation published in the National Library of Medicine, studied student dieting patterns and the effects it had on them and showed serious changes in behaviour within weeks.

“Apprehension, irritability, and moodiness were associated with a high concern with restraint. Blank spells, hunger pain, health concern, and social withdrawal were associated with a history of the restraint,” the study observed.

“Depression, lower self-esteem, eating behaviour patterns, apathy, and decreased motivation were associated with both restraint parameters. Our results suggest that normal dieting may be more closely related to psychological and health risks associated with chronic semi-starvation than is commonly believed.”

Faith Nafula, a counselling psychologist, notes that whether a company provides snacks and snacking areas, depends on the style of management, and what the organisation intends to achieve with the provision of such an incentive.

“This could motivate the workforce and could be the difference between two competing companies. It could also be used to ensure that the employees do not keep going out to eat but can sit, eat and focus,” she says.

She, however, says that snacking in the office could disrupt employees who do not take snacks. She calls for a lot of discipline when allowing snacking in the office to allow workflow while keeping staff energised and motivated.