Employee Engagement

Your office pantry is getting a sustainable makeover

What snacks are there in your office pantry these days? 

Even before the pandemic, companies were slowly adjusting to an increasing number of requests from staff to have healthier food options in the office pantry. This consciousness was reflected in the mainstream emergence of zero alcohol booze and an uptake of healthier diets by the office crowd - seemingly driven by young millennials and Gen-Zs in the workforce. When COVID-19 came around, and once people started returning to the office, these trends have only accelerated. The workplace today has a new unshakeable priority: keeping employees healthy.

Organisations have signed up for fitness programmes, workshops, and a range of services, in the hopes that employees can adopt a healthier and more active lifestyle. All these, however, can be undone by a trip to the pantry for a sugary tea time cookie - twice a day, every working day.

The number of times an employee dips their hand into the cookie jar - our metaphor for sinful pantry snacks - might seem trivial and routine, but you might know first-hand the impact of that.

Sugary foods and unhealthy tidbits in general, have a hand in throwing staff off their productivity. The infamous combination of a lunch time food coma and tea time sugar crash is a productivity-killer, and requires intrinsic motivation on the part of each employee to avoid the temptation. In the long run, assuming you do want your employees to stay on with you, this inadvertently reels in those corporate health insurance claims if bad eating habits go unchecked.

On the flipside, there are foods that can turn things around and boost focus and productivity. Functional foods, alternatives and low GI snacks, with a dose of good eating advice, have the potential to flip the mid-day drain and enhance an employee’s focus. This value is not lost on companies like Google, who as early as 2012 had behavioural experts coming in to help Googlers make healthier choices.

With companies pursuing ESG targets, sustainability also plays a part. According to Unily in 2020, 83% of employees thought their employer was not doing enough to be more sustainable. The snacks you put in the pantry can be sourced and procured from sustainable sources too, and when employees knowingly consume these, they naturally buy into the lifestyle and you’ll soon gain their support for your organisation’s sustainability efforts.

It is no wonder that companies are searching for healthier, more nutritious and sustainably-sourced snacks to fill the pantry. This enables healthier and productive employees, while aligning themselves to their employees’ wishes for the company to be more sustainable. On top of all these, the snacks have to be affordable and tasty.

Will companies manage to succeed in giving the pantry a sustainable makeover? The benefits are clear, and with your support, your company might just come to find this a necessity.

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