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Restoring energy in a worn-out team...

By Sarah Owens on 08.07.14 in News

Our guest blogger this week is Sarah Brown, Nutritonal Therapist from Good Food Works talking about the importance of nutrition in the work place...

According to a recent survey, 77% of employees believe that a 'health and wellness package positively impacts the culture at work". Studies show that motivation and productivity is better where employees feel that their employer cares about their quality of life. 

This is one of the reasons that top employers are increasingly focusing on Employee Wellness programmes and reaping the benefits of a healthier, more engaged workforce: improved quality of work and productivity, improved energy and focus, reduced absenteeism and lower staff turnover. 

It doesn't matter what size the organization is, there are always measures that can be introduced to support employee wellness. Exercise and fitness programmes, nutrition and lifestyle workshops, health screenings and education, are all seen as assets by an increasingly tired and stressed out workforce. 

While it may be easy to understand the benefits of mini-massages in the workplace, what many people miss is the link between eating right and improving health. Getting nutrition right not only addresses weight and the consequential maladies associated with being over-weight: cardiovascular disease, musculo-skeletal problems and diabetes being the most easily recognizable, but also helps to stabilize energy and delivers almost immediate health improvements. 

Unsurprisingly stress-related absence is responsible for the loss of around 10.5m working days per year - either directly, or indirectly as a result of the cascade effect that it has on the body, leading to cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression amongst others things.  

Most people think the effects of stress are purely psychological with some people thinking "they handle stress well", but it's the physiological response that leads to many of the related conditions and problems, and that's something that an ill-equipped body can only cope with for so long. 

Making sure that your body has the right nutrients to support the complex interplay between hormones, starting with the stress hormone cortisol, and impacting on appetite hormones, mood and feel-good neurotransmitters, is a vital part of the mix.  

If you do nothing else, cut down on sugar (that's the processed foods, confectionery and office treats, fizzy drinks), cut down on artificial stimulants (caffeine, alcohol and smoking), ensure you eat regularly - no skipping of breakfast or lunch, and focus on low sugar foods and drinks throughout the day.

But what else should you be thinking about to support your team? 

  1. Be aware of the problem - and open to considering stress-busting steps.
  2. Promote healthy eating - introduce nutrition consultations, health screenings and healthy eating workshops to engage the team with the reasons why change is important.
  3. Encourage relaxation - introduce yoga and mindfulness workshops, provide break-out areas for time away from the desk.
  4.  Encourage a positive work-life balance - ensure staff can make full use of holiday entitlements, and don't feel pressured into working long hours constantly.
  5. Get up and go - exercise is a great stress-buster and physical fitness helps to manage hormone output, releasing endorphins and promoting good sleep, and essential part of stress management. 

With 87% of employees saying that they look at the availability of wellness packages when choosing a new employer, it's worth making sure that your business is competitive in this area. And when you weigh up the benefits of a healthier team, it makes perfect sense to prioritise a wellness programme within your benefits package for the sake of your team and your business!

For more information or advice do contact Sarah on 020 3239 0887 or email  sarah@goodfoodworks.co.uk