Tackling health at work leaves food for thought

Your analysis of healthy eating in the workplace was right to point out that “helping to improve employees’ health is part of an employer’s wider responsibilities” (‘Working Lunch’ feature, Personnel Today, 16 October, pictured, right). However, by focusing on fitness and nutrition alone, organisations will still miss a trick in trying to boost the health and wellbeing of staff at work.

We recently conducted research with Ipsos Mori, which revealed that many employers are failing to tackle the issue of healthy working, partly due to ignorance about how best to help. Whereas many employers believe healthy eating is the key, workers actually asked for more effective day-to-day support from managers, flexible working, support with workload management, and appropriate channels for raising concerns as the most effective ways of improving their health and wellbeing.

Creating a healthy workplace can improve motivation, productivity and overall performance – an opportunity that few employers can afford to miss. Encouraging healthy eating can be an important part of this, but without the realisation that this is about more than just swapping biscuits for bananas, I believe progress will be sadly limited.

Kirsty Baker
Investors in People UK

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