Having just come back from honeymoon, it’s fair to say I probably over indulged and took full advantage of the all-inclusive resort we stayed at. I’m now sat here thinking the gym membership I started before my wedding will come in handy with those few extra pounds to lose.
But what with all this lovely over indulgence it got me thinking about what many of us are pretty familiar these days, the so-called ‘cake culture’ in the workplace. Whether it’s to celebrate a birthday, promotion, retirement, or just the end of another week, there’s no shortage of baked goods to be enjoyed with a nice cup of tea in the office. It’s almost a tradition now that plenty of us enjoy, but have you stopped to think about the potential health implications? Can’t say I did when I was enjoying a lovely piece of fruit cake, but maybe I should have done!!
Senior dentist Prof Nigel Hunt is due to deliver a speech at an annual dinner for dentists, where he’ll say:
“Managers want to reward staff for their efforts, colleagues want to celebrate special occasions, and workers want to bring back a gift from their holidays. But for many people the workplace is now the primary site of their sugar intake and is contributing to the current obesity epidemic and poor oral health. Cake culture also poses difficulties for those who are trying their hardest to lose weight or become healthier – how many of us have begun such diets only to cave in to the temptation of the doughnuts, cookies or the triple chocolate biscuits?’
And many would agree with him. It’s estimated that 61.7% of adults in the UK are obese or overweight, and this figure has been steadily increasing for almost three decades. The implications for society are obvious, so perhaps it’s time for employers to consider the impact that growing waistlines could have on their businesses.
If your staff are overweight (and I know you are not supposed to judge), they’re more likely to experience health problems, including high blood pressure and diabetes, which could put a real strain on your operations.
But is it really your responsibility to encourage your workers to make a change?
Let’s be totally honest here – banning cake in the workplace is going to make you fairly unpopular, and it’s a step too far. There’s no reason why sugary treats can’t be enjoyed in moderation, and you could argue that it’s absolutely not your job to police what your workers eat.
Still though, it’s sensible to recognise that the lines between work and home are becoming increasingly blurred. Employees are spending more and more time at work, and if you want to get the most out of your staff, it’s worth thinking about how you can promote a healthier lifestyle.
Consider making other options available, such as fruit and veggies, and recognise that you have a responsibility to encourage your workers to make good choices.
In many cases, your employees will greatly appreciate you rolling out positive changes that allow them to put their wellbeing at the top of the agenda.
If you want to be a truly exemplary employer, then it could be time for you to consider taking a more proactive approach to promoting health and positive lifestyle choices. Maybe you’ve got some ideas about how you could do this, but you’re unsure about the finer details. If so, we can help. Give us a call today for a no-obligation chat about your plans and see how the team @GoldHR can help you get business fit for the future.