Join the employee wellbeing revolution
This April, join thousands of employers around Ireland by making your workplace part of National Workplace Wellbeing Day. This exciting initiative has been launched for the fourth consecutive year by Food Drink Ireland, part of Ibec.
Ibec CEO, Danny McCoy, has been quick to point out the benefits of the program for employers as well as employees:
“For employers, there are clear benefits, with two out of three employees saying they are more likely to stay long-term with an employer who is interested in their wellbeing.”
There are many fruity ways to help your employees turn their sugary coffee breaks and at-desk snacking into a new, healthier routine while also boosting workplace productivity.
1. Stimulate the mind
Reaching for a cup of coffee mid-morning and mid-afternoon is a common way to keep-on-task and break up the routine at work. There are, however, healthier ways to improve concentration and stay alert.
Scientists at the University of Reading have done some interesting research into the effects of blueberries on memory. Flavonoids in blueberries are thought to activate an enzyme which increases blood flow to the brain. Volunteers who consumed 200g of blueberries in the morning had enhanced concentration five hours later.
Pop a bowl of fresh blueberries next to the water cooler or coffee machine and help staff to beat that mid-afternoon slump later in the day.
Apples, especially apple skins, are now known to be rich in a neuroprotective agent called quercetin. This naturally occurring flavonoid is the subject of much research into cognitive functioning. Quercetin improves working memory and is showing potential as a pharmacological memory-improving product.
Raise the cognitive performance of your team by offering staff apples to munch on throughout the day. Easily eaten at the desk or during breaks, apples are versatile and require no preparation. And remember, the goodness really is in the skin!
2. Beat the Stress
Ireland ranks high for workplace stress, according to the European Agency for Safety and Health at work. Nearly one-quarter of workers in Ireland reported experiencing stress at work “always” or “most of the time”.
A stressful workplace is a less productive workplace. Tension is a barrier to creativity and efficiency. Periods of peak stress like the end-of-quarter rush or important meetings/presentations are pressure points for many.
Bananas: the natural stress remedy
Did you know that many musicians are known to eat a banana 30 minutes before a performance to help reduce stage-fright? The science supports the theory that bananas are good for anxiety management and are a natural remedy for stress. Bananas are rich in magnesium and B-vitamins, both of which support the nervous system and help to maintain calm.
Offering fresh fruit to staff can help beat performance-related stress and keep everyone calm before that contentious board meeting.
3. Enhance the mood
As an alternative to cigarette or coffee breaks, employees can be offered a “health break” – a piece of fruit and a few minutes of fresh air to clear the mind.
A proactive approach to mental health with folate
Fruits like strawberries, kiwis and oranges contain particularly high levels of folate, a vitamin which has been proven to lift mood and prevent depression. Some doctors are now recommending that folate be prescribed as a first-line treatment for patients with depression. Employers can take a proactive approach to mental health by offering folate-rich fruit to staff.
Stabilising blood sugar prevents mood swings
Snacking on highly processed, sugary foods leads to peaks and subsequent crashes in blood sugar. Avoid workplace “hangover” by offering fruit as an alternative to chocolate biscuits and pastries. Fresh fruit is typically low on the glycaemic index. Fruit like bananas and mangos have a particularly stabilising effect on blood-sugar levels.
Keep the mood and the blood sugar steady at your office by having easy-to-eat fruit like mandarins, bananas and kiwis readily available throughout the day, not just at break times.
4. Prevent illness
Fresh fruit is better than vitamin pills
Recent research indicates that supplementing diets with isolated vitamins and minerals is less effective than eating whole foods containing these nutrients. Nutrition is guiding more and more doctors to encourage the consumption of whole foods to manage and prevent illnesses.
Fruits rich in vitamin C, like kiwis, oranges and strawberries, reduce oxidative stress in the body and keep the immune system strong to fight off infections.
Increasing fresh fruit consumption in the office not only helps staff fight off coughs and cold, but also reduces the rate of heart disease, stroke and certain types of cancer.
Make sure no one in your office misses out on the immunoprotective properties of fresh fruit. Strawberries, mandarins and grapes are all easy to nibble on during a break or at the desk. Sliced lemon beside the water cooler can encourage staff to drop some vitamin C into their drink.
Make workplace wellbeing more than just a day, make it a policy
A regular delivery of fresh fruit into your workplace sends a very clear signal to staff that their health and well-being is valued. In turn, employers who encourage staff to eat well benefit from a healthier, more committed workforce – along with reduced levels of absenteeism.
National Workplace Wellbeing Day is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate to your employees that their wellbeing is a priority. Edel Creely, Ibec President, is certain that employers have an important role to play in improving the nation’s health:
“As a nation, we know we need to get healthier and there is no better place to start than in the workplace.”
If you’re thinking of providing fresh fruit in your workplace, why not start with a trial box? Order a free trial today and take the first step to a healthier office!