In the 1960s, NASA was on a mission to put the first men on the Moon. Among many other things, they faced a seemingly simple yet highly complex challenge: space food! Thankfully, what started as unsavoury tubes of paste has come a long way since then. Why? NASA recognized that proper nutrition mattered for both the health and morale of their astronauts. Your staff may not be going to Mars, but they’re still working toward an important vision. Today we’ll explore how office catering, meal programs and so on can support their health and happiness. We’ll also share our top tips to build a strong nutrition framework.
Food, Glorious Food: Unpacking the Delectable Benefits
Why should you be invested in what your employees eat?
Many would argue that it’s because food motivates people. That may be partly true, but genuine and lasting motivation goes much deeper than external rewards. Still, fuelling your team well has several individual and organizational benefits:
Boosts Spirits & Performance
Tasty and nutritious food can produce serotonin, a chemical that reduces depression, regulates anxiety, and acts as an overall mood regulator. Simply put, employees with stable mental health will be in a much better place to produce their best work!
Aids Physical Strength
Physical health is another aspect of overall wellness. Wholesome foods will help supercharge your staff’s immune systems and other internal ‘materials’ needed to function well. That, coupled with mental stability, will naturally translate to less sick days.
Makes Lives Easier
One of the best things you can do for your staff is to make their lives easier and help them achieve their goals, which extend beyond just work. Many people want to eat healthily but get bogged down with the meal prep process. You can help alleviate that frustration by making good food options available and easily accessible.
Encourages Community & Team Building
Workplace diversity is a beautiful thing; however, different personalities, backgrounds, and preferences mean it’s not always easy to bring colleagues together. But there’s at least one age-old commonality you can rely on: everyone eats! Office functions involving DIY food prep or excellent catering are fantastic ways to encourage social gatherings where people can bond and develop relationships, naturally improving how they work together.
Teaches Healthy Habits
On average, employees spend over 30% of their waking hours at their jobs, meaning that, as an employer, you have plenty of opportunities to influence their lives positively. While many people develop poor habits due to workplace stress, it doesn’t have to be that way in every organization. Modelling day-to-day practices around movement, mindfulness and proper fuel at work can help your staff create good habits that will last well beyond your time together.
Leave people better than you found them.
– Marvin J. Ashten
4 Tips & Resources to Establish a Delicious Food Framework
Now that we’ve got that covered, what does making good nutrition a part of your culture look like? Here are our best tips to use when working to create a robust food program:
Tip#1: Learn About Your Staff’s Dietary Needs & Preferences
There are more dietary types than most of us can imagine. On top of that, people have varying reasons that drive their food choices. For some, it’s a simple matter of taste. Others have particular religious beliefs and values or are managing health conditions. The main thing to keep in mind when building your food program is there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Learning about what each worker needs can help you design customized meal plans, activities and events.
Remember that you can use our polling tool to prepare insightful questions and gather company-wide feedback!
Tip#2: Provide Training About Mindful Eating
Healthy eating is one of those things that we all know is important but often lack the motivation to stick with. Educating people about why proper nutrition is essential can help them develop a deeper, more durable desire to make better food choices.
Whether your coworkers need complete basics training or a light refresher, the Introduction to Mindful Eating workshop is a great place to start. Our provider, a certified nutritionist host, will discuss how to change thoughts around food and improve habits without dieting.
Tip#3: Connect With Local Food Providers
You may also want to gather a rich, centralized collection of your local food providers to maximize variety and efficiency. Don’t forget to use information about your staff’s preferences (Tip#1) to choose the best ones. That way, the next time you need office catering, satisfying snacks, or soothing beverages, you won’t have to spend too much time asking people what they’d like or searching things up on Google.
Tip #4: Gear Up With Quality Kitchen Supplies & Equipment
The small things often make a big difference in day-to-day life, so it’s no surprise that a fully stocked kitchen can contribute to worker happiness. Not only is it a place to prepare food, but it’s also a perfect hub for recharging and enjoying others’ company.
Prepare and regularly top up assorted drinks, condiments, packaged snacks, and fresh fruits. And, of course, a high-quality coffee machine, microwave, refrigerator, toaster, kettle, and other basics will complete the collection. Remember that these things don’t have to be expensive to function well and last long!
Meet Your Noshing Needs With Thriver
There you have it, our insight into how something as simple as food can elevate your staff’s workplace experience. If you want a centralized system that easily integrates the above four tips, visit our platform’s Food & Kitchen corner. There you’ll discover an abundant collection of culinary inspiration, meal programs, dietary experts and more.
Lastly, remember that good food is just one of several pillars to build your company culture. Check out our other articles focused on professional development, office space (design & safety) and team activities (article coming soon!) for more ideas and resources.