Employee efficiency is a major concern in most workplaces. Increasing productivity is probably the largest part of managing any work environment, but even keeping it at a steady rate is difficult. As the work day drags on, employees tend to fall into a sort of stupor. This is due, in large part, to diet.
Employees who eat in workplace cafeterias tend to eat foods that decrease, rather than increase, efficiency. Most cafeterias only offer unhealthy food options, so employees are forced to consume foods that are unhealthy and cause low energy levels and decreased focus. It is becoming increasingly evident that workplace cafeterias need to institute healthier options for employees.
Ways That Unhealthy Food Reduces Efficiency
Productivity is affected largely by two things, energy levels and cognitive function. It is necessary for an employee to keep his or her energy levels up so work can be completed in a timely manner, and it is necessary to maintain cognitive function to remain focused on the task at hand. When people eat unhealthy foods, however, one or both of these important factors always affected.
The body needs a continuous supply of energy in order to function. Most of this energy is produced during the breakdown of glucose, a sugar found in most foods. In order to keep energy levels up, glucose has to be continuously breaking down in the body.
The problem with unhealthy foods, such as pasta and soda, is the speed of glucose turnover. These foods break down glucose much quicker than their healthier counterparts, so the consumer has a short burst of energy before crashing and becoming extremely tired. Healthier foods, like bananas and sweet potatoes, require more time for the body to breakdown the glucose, so a steady stream of energy is released.
When a person eats food that is high in fat, the opposite problem occurs. When the body is digesting, say, a cheeseburger, it releases the aforementioned ‘steady stream of energy’, but it requires much more work to digest due to the fats. The added strain on the digestive system reduces oxygen levels in the brain and reducing cognitive function.
Foods That Boost Energy Levels And Focus
There are plenty of things that workplace cafeterias can do to boost efficiency, including reducing the amount of unhealthy food provided. They can also provide more foods that boost energy levels and cognitive function.
Foods with healthy fat, such as avocados, are great for boosting energy. Protein-rich foods and foods low in carbohydrates are also great energy boosters. Foods with antioxidants, such as blueberries, improve motor skills and memory. Eggs and other foods high in choline also improve memory. Iron-rich foods increase the amount of oxygen received by the brain, enhancing cognitive control.
Transforming an unhealthy workplace cafeteria into a healthy environment is extremely beneficial to both managers and employees. It boosts both the health of the employees and the efficiency of the workplace. Providing healthier options is a great step toward a more productive future.