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We’ve all been there: It’s 3 p.m., your team worked through lunch, and people are hangry.
You could tough it out. Everyone will be home in a couple of hours, right? They might not get much deep work done until then, but surely, they can find something productive to do that won’t push them over the edge.
On the other hand, they’re about to snap. Does Chris have to type that loudly? Can’t the interns take their conversation somewhere else?
With a sigh, you get up to search for snacks to distribute around the office to keep the wolves at bay (and people working). But the break room is empty, and the fridge is full of half-empty Tupperware. As your team worries about holiday weight gain and its winter eating habits, you feel the pressure to produce something fueling and healthy.
Without an option in sight, you realize your team has wasted the last quarter of its workday.
Open a Bag of Productivity
Too often, workplaces are either snack deserts or stocked with vending machines full of unhealthy treats. Neither is as good for productivity as a healthy office snack — famished team or not.
According to the World Health Organization, adequate nutrition can improve productivity by an average of 20 percent. But when healthy, ready-to-eat foods aren’t available, hungry employees often turn to options like fast food. An Ohio State University study found, however, that regular consumption of fast food cut test score gains by about 20 percent among U.S. students.
For one entrepreneur, that junk-or-nothing office snack dilemma struck a chord. NatureBox Executive Chairman John Occhipinti, who’s also an experienced private equity investor, noticed a major trend in the workplace. Investing in employee health and wellness moved beyond large companies like Google and Facebook, and small business offices everywhere started pulling junk food from their office shelves. From his own life, Occhipinti knew how important the relationship was between eating right and boosting overall wellness and productivity.
“When I was in college, I gained 25 pounds from stress eating, feasting on processed and fatty foods. When I started working in high-stress entrepreneurial environments, that pattern started repeating,” he said. “I realized that things needed to change, and healthier snacking made all the difference for me. Conscious eating changed my health and my life, and I certainly wouldn’t have made it as an entrepreneur without this change.”
Healthy Office Snacks for Staying Power
Office snacks don’t just help people stay productive throughout the workday. As Occhipinti learned the hard way in college, satisfying hunger in healthy ways can actually promote organizational commitment.
According to a study by grocery delivery service Peapod, 67 percent of full-time workers with access to free food are “extremely” or “very” happy with their current job, compared to 56 percent of those who don’t enjoy employer-provided office snacks. What’s more, Peapod found that 48 percent of workers consider company perks, including availability of office snacks, when deciding whether to take a new job.
Beth Monaghan, co-founder of public relations firm InkHouse, has seen firsthand how healthy office snacks can improve worker satisfaction. “It helps employees be more excited about coming to work,” Monaghan, whose company gets weekly deliveries of organic fruit, told USA TODAY.
Monaghan says snack perks have been particularly popular among the Millennials on her staff — an assertion the Peapod survey supports. “For lots of Millennials coming into the workplace today [healthy office snack options are] the norm, so you kind of have to meet those expectations,” Monaghan argues. Peapod found that employees aged 18 to 34 — the largest share of the U.S. workforce — were almost three times more likely to say in-office snacks influenced their decision to take their last job than workers aged 45 and older.
Choosing Smart Snacks
Healthy office snacks can be a boon to productivity and job satisfaction — but only if employees want to eat them. And understandably, entrepreneurs concerned about ROI don’t want to guess at workers’ tastes and risk losing valuable money.
Which office snacks tend to be team favorites? A study of 10,000 snacking professionals found that their top 10 favorites are, in order, dried fruit, nuts, protein bars, chips, dark chocolate, crackers, string cheese, trail mix, yogurt, and jerky.
Healthy, convenient office snacks that the whole team can agree on might sound like a tall order. But leaders are increasingly realizing that a hungry office is an unhappy, unhealthy, and unproductive office. Office snacks may not be the answer to every workplace problem entrepreneurs face, but they’re certainly an easy way to start.
And who knows? Like Occhipinti, you may find that healthy snacks make you a more successful entrepreneur.
December 20, 2018 at 01:09PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs