Get fresh ideas for healthy eating at work


healthy buffet

Workplace wellness is a big topic at the moment and we are starting to get more evidence that initiatives aimed at improving employees’ diets and activity help productivity and reduce sickness absence. I take a look at a 6-step plan to help you get fresh ideas for healthy eating at work.

  1. Get some focus. Unpicking the challenge will help you to identify your organisational or team priorities and save you untold hours working on parts of the problem that are really quite low priority for your specific circumstances. For example you might want to tackle unhealthy snacking in the office. There would be no point in working on an educational campaign if people actually have a fairly good understanding about what to eat but find that the environment stops them eating well and vice versa.
  1. Look at traditions, behaviours and routines that have got you “stuck in a rut.” You can then share ideas about what the results might be if you did some things differently. For example it may have become habit for your team to sit down for a muffin and coffee breakfast together on a Friday. Of course this is great for team building but not so good for your physical health. You might decide to commission an infographic about healthy eating and then challenge everyone to participate in a healthy breakfast “bring and share” event each Friday.
  1. Try not to drown an idea before it’s even out of the birthing pool. We can be very cynical and weary and sometimes a suggestion might sound like something that just won’t work. However we need to make sure we understand suggestions before dismissing them. With the idea above you might immediately think that you don’t have the budget for an infographic. However perhaps there is one available publicly that you could use or maybe a comms and media student and a dietetic student at a local University could develop one for you as a project. If the idea generates energy then try to build it even if you have reservations. Don’t forget that the most crazy ideas can often evolve into a feasible way forward that delivers huge benefits. I expect whoever first came up with the idea for 3D printing got some serious raised eyebrows.
  1. Prioritise. Sometimes you might have a whole raft of ideas so you will need to pick out the most promising ones for further scrutiny – if you try to analyse them all in detail it will become overwhelming. You don’t have to shelve the others just prioritise.
  1. Focus on feasibility and potential impact. To do this you really do need the right people in the room. If you are thinking of developing a mini-documentary film for staff training for example you could easily make some wrong judgements about feasibility if you don’t have access to advice from people who make short educational films. You might find the film would only cost half the amount you assumed. Good analysis will give you a clear view of all the potential barriers and what can be done to break them down as well as the enablers and how to access them. All this requires intelligent and strategic engagement with your stakeholders, who will often be a lot keener than you might think to get involved.
  1. Make a simple launch plan on a page.You don’t need to produce detailed, heavy reports or carry out in-depth research. The idea is to come up with a plan on one side of A4 paper, which you can then use to explain or “pitch” your idea to people who can help you implement it. The simple ideas are often the best and most can be implemented within a few months as a pilot. Wherever possible strike whilst the iron is hot to keep energy and momentum going.

You can get to the point of a plan on a page (everything in points 2-6) in a 1-day workshop as long as you have the right stakeholders in the room. A couple of months before the workshop you will need a short a Steering Group meeting to define the mission and brief. Generating fresh ideas to help colleagues eat well and work well can make a real difference to your organisation. If you would like help facilitating this then take a look at the workplace wellness services page here and send an enquiry

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