Most of us are pretty familiar with so-called ‘cake culture’ in the workplace. Whether it’s to celebrate a birthday, a promotion, a retirement, or just the end of another week, there’s no shortage of baked goods to enjoy with a nice cup of tea in the office. It’s a tradition that plenty of us enjoy, but have you stopped to think about the potential health implications?
Senior dentist Prof Nigel Hunt delivering a speech at an annual dinner for dentists, said:
‘Managers want to reward staff for their efforts, colleagues want to celebrate special occasions, and workers want to bring back a gift from their holidays. But for many people the workplace is now the primary site of their sugar intake and is contributing to the current obesity epidemic and poor oral health. Cake culture also poses difficulties for those who are trying their hardest to lose weight or become healthier - how many of us have begun such diets only to cave in to the temptation of the doughnuts, cookies or the triple chocolate biscuits?’
And many would agree with him. It’s estimated that 61.7% of adults in the UK are obese or overweight, and this figure has been steadily increasing for three decades. The implications for society are obvious, so perhaps it’s time for employers to consider the impact that growing waistlines could have on their businesses.
If your staff are overweight, they’re more likely to experience health problems, including high blood pressure and diabetes, and this could put a real strain on your operations.
But is it really your responsibility to encourage your workers to make a change?
Let’s be totally honest here – banning cake in the workplace is going to make you fairly unpopular, and it’s a step too far. There’s no reason why sugary treats cannot be enjoyed in moderation, and you could argue that it’s absolutely not your job to police what your workers eat.
However, it’s sensible to recognise that the lines between work and home are becoming increasingly blurred. Employees are spending more and more time at work, and if you want to get the most out of your staff, it’s worth thinking about how you can promote a healthier lifestyle.
Consider making other options available, such as fruit, and recognise that you have a responsibility to encourage your workers to make good choices. One of our clients has a regular fruit drop through a Supermarket delivery, directly to their office.
In many cases, your employees will greatly appreciate you rolling out positive changes that allow them to put their wellbeing at the top of the agenda.
If you want to be a truly exemplary employer, then it could be time for you to consider taking a more proactive approach to promoting health and positive lifestyle choices. Maybe you’ve got some ideas about how you could do this, but you’re unsure about the finer details. If so, we can give you the expert HR advice you need. Please contact us on 01604 763494 or by using the form to the right of the page.