Wellness At The Workplace
Corporate India has grown by leaps and bounds over the last 2-3 decades.
Ever wondered why the educated and earning population is also the one paying the highest medical bills and spending on wellness solutions? Why has the last decade seen a boom in the wellness industry and diet-related apps? Why has this pandemic suddenly made IMMUNITY the buzz word?
The lockdowns and the work-from-home scene for 2 years now has made even the most active people sedentary and less mobile. A recently generated wellness quote, “Sitting is the new Smoking” clearly explains why sedentary lifestyle is directly proportional with expanding waistlines and declining health (read metabolic disorders, adrenal fatigue, minimal immunity, insulin resistance, imbalanced lipids, vitamin deficiencies, reproductive issues & hormonal imbalance).
Corporate India has grown by leaps and bounds over the last 2-3 decades. With BPOs entering the scene, came night shifts & extended working hours. Many MNCs work 24 hours a day in 3 shifts where employees work late night and sleep during the day. A sedentary lifestyle coupled with working against our biological clock can lead to health issues and impact immunity.
As the world is opening up and workplaces are calling the employees back, the relevance of what one eats at the workplace is of paramount importance as it affects the employee’s performance and eventually the output of the company. After all, “You are what you eat”.
Access to healthy food and protection from unsafe and unhealthy food and eating arrangements is one of the primary essentials at workplaces now. As per a WHO journal of 2003, adequate nourishment can raise national productivity levels by 20%.
Most of the corporate giants were providing meals during working hours for employees till Covid happened. Now even with the hybrid work model, whether one gets one’s meals from home, buys food at canteens or has access to meals provided by the employer, most of the working population today is unaware of what a balanced meal is and why focusing more on wholesome nutrition than calories can make them healthier. Merely providing enough calories to employees to perform their tasks will not guarantee good health and boost immunity to withstand future pandemic threats.
Did you know that iron deficiency affects upto half the working population, predominantly in developing countries? Low iron levels are associated with weakness, lack of co ordination and sluggishness. According to research, an impairment of 30% in physical work capacity and performance is reported among iron-deficient men and women. Remember, one of the main post-covid complications is iron deficiency.
Another markup are low Vitamin levels- Both Vit D & Vit B 12. As per a research dated 2014 by Charak foundation(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3942730/), 70-100% of population in indian subcontinent is likely to be Vit D deficient. During my work experience as a nutrition consultant for corporates, almost 90% of the employees who consulted for weight-loss or other health issues also reported low Vitamin counts.
It’s time that workplaces who plan to re-introduce providing meals to their employees appoint a team of qualified personnel including chefs, food managers and nutritionists under the umbrella of the catering chain and ensure that all the meals are in accordance with working shifts. The meals should be curated towards being well-balanced , that can be customized in terms of ratio of macronutrients, quality of ingredients used, variety of cuisines offered and even cater to employees with health issues like diabetes, food allergies and more. The beverages, the main meals, the snacks, the tea station and the desserts can all fall in line accentuating the health status of employees and ensuring boosted energy levels & enhanced concentration.
A preponderance of evidence now reveals that consuming fruits and vegetables can significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. Nutrition experts can design meal menus that can incorporate all food groups to increase intake of more nutrients while following the principles of balance, variety and moderation.
Investment in health and well-being of employees is soon repaid as reduction in sick leaves & accidents and a boost in productivity and morale besides exemplary growth of output and profits. Ultimately, “good health is good business “ – Paul Drechsler, Former President of Confederation of British Industry.
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