Employers have been advised to encourage healthy eating habits and overall healthy lifestyles among their employees, as it could reap benefits for their operations.
The advice has come from regional medical practitioner Dr Kecia Brooks-Smith-Lowe, who said studies have shown that improvement in health is linked to increased productivity in the workplace.
She noted that, too often, workers either did not take lunch breaks or they ate at their desks, and those habits should be discouraged.
“A lot of patients come to my office and tell me they don’t even take lunch and it is because of how the workplace goes, and there is not a designated time for them, so they feel pressured to stay at their desk and not get that little break that might make them healthier, more relaxed and more productive in the long run,” Dr Brooks-Smith-Lowe told a recent virtual CIBC FirstCaribbean Client Appreciation Day session.
“I want to remind employers that you can combat the rising healthcare cost and boost productivity when nutrition programmes are part of your culture in your workplace,” she added.
The doctor, owner of the Brooks-Smith Lowe Institute in Grenada, further advised employers to find ways to encourage workers to be more active throughout the day.
She said in addition to awareness campaigns, workplaces should set up bulletin boards with important information to remind staff to care for their health.
“You can also . . . provide pamphlets to promote healthy eating and behaviour in the workplace, maybe even have an internal newsletter emailed to staff.
Think about building skills and competence of your employees. Don’t assume that your employees know how to make healthy lifestyle choices,” Dr Brooks-Smith-Lowe said.
“Make educational opportunities available for your employees in the workplace and encourage healthy food and activity options whenever staff gather. This will help to create a culture of well-being in the office.”
The medical practitioner also encouraged bosses to allow their employees to be in charge of, or take a very active role in managing various health and nutrition programmes from the start. This approach, she said, would allow workers to better appreciate healthy lifestyle choices and take part in the various programmes.
“People who are involved would have to act as role models and encourage employees to follow their lead,” Dr Brooks-Smith-Lowe explained.
“All these things will serve employers better if they encourage their employees to focus on the whole person and not just on work, work, work. How much work can you get out of your employee if you are not caring for them as a person?” (MM)