Many of your employees may be skipping breakfast and replacing it with a strong cup of coffee, but research shows that a hearty breakfast can really benefit your employees’ health and keep them more productive throughout the day. A 2016 report from the British Dietetic Association, estimates that up to a third of people regularly skip breakfast. This could be costing your company dearly in terms of lost productivity and employee health issues.
The word ‘breakfast’ literally means ‘breaking the fast’ as it is meant to replenish energy levels that have drained overnight, enabling you to start the day fully charged.
Breakfast kick-starts metabolism and provides the nutrients our bodies need to keep us going. Those people who skip breakfast have to draw fuel and re-charge from energy reserves and, unfortunately, the stress hormones that are activated in this process leave us feeling irritable, tired and unable to take in information quickly and efficiently.
Eating breakfast also has long term health benefits such as; reducing obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. It can make us happier as it can improve mood and lower stress levels, and it can set the pattern for nutritious eating throughout the day – great for overall health and wellbeing.
Yet despite the clear benefits of breakfast, the main reason people miss it is due to lack of time in the mornings. So here a few ways you can help encourage your employees to get into the habit of eating a healthy breakfast:
Encourage breakfast meetings
People tend to be able to concentrate more earlier in the day. So, by offering a nutritious breakfast selection during early morning meetings, you can get people operating at their most productive whilst also setting them up to work more efficiently through the rest of the day.
Start an early morning breakfast club
Offer employees breakfast if they arrive in the office early. Not only will this provide them with the breakfast they need to start their day, but can also help them avoid the morning rush hour and therefore arrive at work less stressed.
Your employees can also use the extra time to review tasks, and make a list of what needs to be done that day, without being bombarded by questions or email. This can enable them to start their day feeling fully prepared. Alternatively, they can use the time to sit back and read a book or the paper with their breakfast, helping them to feel calm and composed.
And it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune either. Porridge is a great low cost option that’ll provide employees with slow-burning energy to keep them going right up until lunch. And you can make it a bit more exciting mixing up traditional oats with quinoa grains or chia seeds and almond milk, and providing a choice of toppings like – fruit, honey or cacao nibs which are all healthy additions.
As well as providing the nutrition they need to start their day effectively, providing employees with a healthy breakfast could help make them feel more valued, which in turn may make them feel happier and improve their overall health and wellbeing.
Promote team breakfasts
Having breakfast as a team is a great way to bond and if you’re unable to provide breakfast for the entire workforce you could, instead, encourage individual team breakfasts. Each person could take it in turns to bring in breakfast (perhaps one day a week) and make it into a competition, with people voting on who provided the best breakfast.
Make it easy for them to have breakfast at work
By providing just two things: milk and a microwave, you’ll be doing a lot to encourage employees to eat breakfast. A microwave makes nutritious breakfasts like porridge and scrambled eggs possible in a flash and by providing milk, you’ll make it easy for employees to bring in their own cereal and have a quick and filling breakfast.
Have you recently started a breakfast club or found a way to encourage staff to eat a healthy breakfast more regularly? And did you notice an impact on employee’s energy levels and sense of wellbeing? Let us know on LinkedIn and Twitter using #healthybreakfasts.
This content originally appeared on Benenden’s workplace hub where employers can find a range of related articles to help with their health and wellbeing strategy.