With National Doughnut Week (yes, really, it’s a thing!) looming, expect a glut of doughnuts, cakes and other delicious patisserie in the office. A host of businesses take part every year, including bakers, coffee shops, offices and educational establishments, baking delicious confection to raise funds for The Children’s Trust – which is undoubtedly a great cause. Cakes and sweet treats in general are an office tradition that plenty of us enjoy, but have you stopped to think about the potential health implications?
Most of us are pretty familiar with so-called ‘cake culture’ in the workplace. Whether it’s to celebrate a birthday, a promotion, a retirement, or just the end of another hard week, there’s often no shortage of baked goods to enjoy with a nice cup of tea during a break at work.
Dentist Prof Nigel Hunt delivered a speech at an annual dinner for dentists, where he said:
‘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 on offer at work?’
And many would agree with him. It’s estimated that more than 60% 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. And the recent introduction of the so-called ‘sugar tax’ has signalled that the Government recognises it as a growing problem.
The reality of the situation is that if your staff are overweight, they’re more likely to experience health problems, including high blood pressure and diabetes, and this 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 probably 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, 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 of offer your workers 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, I can help. Give me a call today for a no-obligation chat about your plans.
Now, where’s my houmous and crudité??