Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Can fresh fruit really improve employee performance?

ManagementCan fresh fruit really improve employee performance?

People really are what they eat. That includes your employees and hence their work. This means that it’s very much in an employer’s best interests to promote healthy eating. One way to do this is to supply fresh fruit at work. 

The importance of fresh fruit 

For humans, a healthy diet is rich in fibre, complex carbohydrates and protein. It also contains plenty of vitamins and minerals. Starchy foods such as potatoes, grains and cereals will often supply plenty of fibre and complex carbohydrates. Animal products, legumes, grains, cereals, nuts and seeds can all provide adequate protein. 

Fruit and vegetables are key sources of vitamins and minerals. Fruits also provide a relatively healthy form of sugar. This is useful for topping up energy levels quickly. It can help to keep a person going until slower-acting complex carbohydrates get to work. Fruit can also be a healthy “sweet treat” and hence take the place of sugary junk food. 

Fresh fruit vs other ways to eat fruit 

Eating fresh fruit isn’t the only way to enjoy fruit. It is, however, usually both the healthiest and the most nutritious. Frozen fruit generally has to be cooked rather than just thawed and eaten as is. Canned fruit often has sugar and/or chemicals added. It also generally loses its crispness. 

Dried fruit and smoothies/juices are both high in sugar. What’s more, smoothies and juices tend to lose a lot of the fibre there is in fresh fruit. Both of these can be enjoyed as occasional treats. They are likely to be a lot healthier than sugary snacks, but they are not as healthy as fresh fruit. 

Why employees might not eat enough fresh fruit 

There are two main reasons why your employees might not eat enough fresh fruit. These are money and time. 

Some employees may be reluctant to buy fresh fruit because it needs to be eaten quickly or else it goes off and the money is wasted. Other employees may simply lack the time to buy and prepare it. For example, if an employee gets most of their shopping delivered, they may not want to buy fresh fruit because they won’t be able to judge its condition in advance. 

Some employees may buy fresh fruit to eat at home. They may, however, not bring it into the workplace because fresh fruit can easily be spoiled on a commute. They may not buy fresh fruit at their work either. This could be because of time or because of the cost of buying fruit in convenience stores. 

All of these reasons (and others) can be addressed by providing fresh fruit in the workplace. The cost of this can be offset by the direct and indirect benefits to employers. 

The benefits of offering fresh fruit at work

The main benefit of offering fresh fruit at work is that you make it easier for employees to maximise their performance by eating healthily. The secondary benefit is that you create a more attractive atmosphere in the office. This encourages people to see it as a place they want to be rather than a place they need to be. This brings further benefits.

Firstly, it helps to improve recruitment and retention. Simple gestures such as offering fresh fruit (and coffee) can be a really cost-effective way to keep employees happy and engaged with your business. Secondly, the act of eating and drinking can play a key role in human bonding. This applies at work as well as socially. 

Getting employees to eat and drink together can, therefore, encourage more collaborative behaviour. Encouraging collaboration tends to be exactly why employers want employees on-site in the first place, so it makes sense to foster it as much as possible.

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