Us office workers have had that one day where we were super productive and on top of everything; it felt like we had drunk 10 cups of strong coffee before we even got into work!
However, ask yourself this simple question; what were your meals like on this day? When we talk about improving productivity and performance in the workplace, we very rarely look into the food we put into our mouths. For those who walk into their office, turn on their computers and see a stack of emails, as well as preparing for meetings and trying to hit deadlines, food is simply fuel.
In this article, our nutrition specialists summarise their latest understanding of how the food we put into our mouths on a daily basis can be affecting our productivity in the workplace, in a positive or negative way.
Improving your concentration during the day
According to some recent nutrition studies, the food we eat on a day-to-day basis actually affects us more than we realise. Let’s look at car fuel for example; you can reliably expect the same performance from your car no matter what brand of unleaded you put into your tank. However, food is completely different. Food has a direct impact on our cognitive performance, which is why making a poor decision on what food you’ll be eating at lunch can derail an entire afternoon of work.
For those who are intrigued by this article so far, here’s a brief rundown of what usually happens when the food enters your mouth and the chewing process begins. Just about every food we eat is converted by our body into glucose (which for those who don’t know what glucose is, this is what provides the energy our brains need to stay alert). When we are running low on glucose, our focus levels begin to drop and we find our attention usually drifts away. This is why you usually find it difficult to concentrate when on an empty stomach.
Seems pretty straightforward so far, right? Now here’s the part which we rarely take into consideration. Not all foods on the planet are processed by our bodies at the same rate. Foods such as bread, pasta, and cereal release the glucose quickly, which provides us with a burst of energy followed by a slump. On the other side of the food plate, we have the high-fat meals (like BLT sandwiches and burgers). These may provide us with more sustained energy, however, they require our digestive system to work harder, which ultimately reduces our oxygen levels in the brain, making us a bit unsteady and tired.
Why your employer should be concerned about Nutrition in the Workplace
The workplace is an ideal location to change awareness, behaviors, and attitudes towards healthy eating and nutrition. All employers have an obligation to for the health and safety of their employees; but when it comes to their general wellbeing and healthiness, this is often overlooked. However, forward-thinking companies across the UK are now realising the benefits of nutrition education in the workplace and the positive effects it can have. Here are a few benefits from an employer and an employee’s point of view.
As an employer, you will benefit from;
- Improved productivity
- Less employee turnover
- Reduced sickness and absenteeism
- Improved job satisfaction and employee morale
- Enhanced corporate image and seen as a caring employer
Your employees will benefit from;
- Reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, and other chronic illnesses.
- Increased energy levels and improvement in mindset
- Reduced anxiety and stress
- Improvement in self-esteem
Take action for healthy eating
So, what are we to do? How can I stop my lunchtime decisions from affecting my performances for the rest of the week? It’s all fine reading the above information in the hope that it will motivate us to make some changes. It’s not the awareness we need – it’s an action plan which makes healthy eating easier to accomplish. Here are a few strategies which our nutritionists have come up with which are worth trying.
Make your eating decisions before you get hungry
If you’re going out to lunch, choose the location of where you’re going to be eating in the morning, not at 12:30 PM when you’ve already left your office building, and are halfway down the road. If you’re ordering in, decide what you’ll be having after a mid-morning snack. Some nutrition studies across the Internet show we’re a lot better at resisting salt, fat, and calories in the future than we are in present.
Small, more frequent meals for consistency
Another strategy our Nutritionists have thought about is instead of letting your glucose bottom out around lunchtime, you’ll perform better by grazing throughout the day. Drops and spikes in our blood sugar are bad for the brain as well as our productivity. However, smaller and more frequent meals help maintain your glucose at a more consistent level, rather than relying on a midday feast.
Make healthy snacking easier to achieve than unhealthy snacking
Place a container of almonds and a selection of protein bars near your line of vision, perhaps beside your computer or in a draw on your desk. You could always bring a bag of fruit to the office on Mondays so that you have them available throughout the whole week. This option sounds much better than snacking on the snack trolley which turns up everyday or going to the vending machine to snack on a packet of crisps or a chocolate bar, right?
For more information about Improving your mindset and productivity in the workplace
If you would like additional information about Improving your mindset and productivity in the workplace or to discuss how we may be able to help with your focus and improving your workplace life, please contact us using the form below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
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