How the Break Room Can Help Your Bottom Line

Updated: Oct 26, 2018

Companies are always looking for good ways to get more out of their employees. Happy hours, rewards, parties- all great ideas, but there is a simple solution that will change your employees output daily. The food in your break room can be responsible for productive work or unproductive work, it's all about what you are providing.

If your break room has chips, soda, cookies, crackers, candy, sweet teas, and candy bars then don't expect much from your employees. You are setting them up to have brain fog, lethargy, fatigue, irritability, stress, depression, anxiety, and decreased productivity.

This isn't the formula for a thriving company. Not only do you have slow moving and producing employees you are also setting up employees to need more out of their healthcare. That means your company healthcare costs are going to increase.

If lowering your expectations and paying more in healthcare costs is not in the cards for your company then I would recommend taking a good look at what's in your break room. You want to provide foods that are going to feed the brain and body, not slow it down or make it larger. So what kind of food options should you be looking into?

  • Unsalted nuts

  • Fresh fruit

  • Veggie trays

  • Sprouted whole wheat bread

  • Organic peanut butter

  • Unsweet tea

  • Organic flavored sparkling water

  • Instant oatmeal

  • Organic hummus

Providing healthy options for your employees will help to boost their brain power, energy, productivity, and response time.

If employees are eating healthier then they may also stop experiencing obesity, heart disease, and other nutrition related diseases. If you take this a step further and create a wellness program in the company then you could be looking at long term savings. Partner with a gym to offer discounts, encourage employees to do yoga or work out on their lunch breaks, check in on employees to make sure they are taking vacation time, or invite a nutritional consultant to come in and speak. Take it one step further and have a weight loss competition. Reward the winners with more vacation time (or another kind of reward).

According to the COO of Minitab implementing a wellness program not only saved the company increases in health care costs but also made for happier employees. This year none of his employees have experienced premium increases, and the utilization of healthcare benefits has decreased.

Minitab’s Hershbine says the experience has changed the way he thinks about health benefits. “Most HR people think it’s about negotiation and pounding on the table for lower rates,” he says. That may save money in the short term, says Hershbine. But without investing in employee wellness, chronic diseases worsen, claims keep climbing, and an employer may face an even bigger increase in the next year, resulting in higher costs for employees as well.  Partnership, says Hershbine, is the better bet. “It’s about working together to understand what drives healthcare costs and how to use wellness to bring those down.”

It may be too expensive for some companies to implement a full wellness program, but you can make small changes, like shaking up what's in the break room.


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