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Feed Your Brain, Increase Workplace Productivity

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We all know that we should eat foods that are healthy for us. Yet those potato chips are so tempting! But wait before you reach for some junk food, because you may be affecting your productivity.

Comfort foods usually tend to be creamy, fatty, and heavy. We all grew up chowing down on these items, which inevitably became part of what makes us happy. But what if these foods are actually negatively affecting the way we work? We here at AccelaWork have discussed before that you should eat better and get more exercise to increase worker satisfaction. So how much does the food we eat contribute to our output? Business News Daily published an article explaining just how much our diets contribute to our concentration and the type of work we yield.

healthy food and employee productivity

© Flickr user Migle

The researchers from Brigham Young University, the Health Enhancement Research Organization and the Center for Health Research at Healthways, have proved that an unhealthy lifestyle could result in high levels of lost productive work time. In fact, 66 percent of people who chow down on not-so-healthy foods were more likely to see a loss in productivity than those whose diets were comprised of vegetables, grains, and fruits. Those who didn’t exercise enough saw a loss of 50 percent in productivity, and smokers saw a loss of 28 percent. So what kinds of foods should you be eating? Business Insider provided a list of just that.

Check out the list below for the perfect brain foods:

1. Berries (also in combination with walnuts/avocados)
2. Bananas
3. Eggs
4. Salmon
5. Eggplant
6. Caffeine from coffee
7. Dark chocolate
8. Green Tea
9. Yogurt
10. Dark leafy greens
11. Raw carrots
12. Red wine (preferably not at work)
13. Whole grains
14. Antioxidants in hot cocoa
15. Garlic

It’s important to note that the healthy lifestyle study mentioned above isn’t just talking about how workers take care of themselves away from the office. The results show a clear connection to engaging in healthy eating and exercise while at the workplace. The research showed that employees who had trouble exercising during the work day were 96 per cent more likely to see a drop in productivity while at work.

What’s more, it appears the mental attitude toward exercise and healthy eating can affect productivity as well:

Those who did not believe their workplace environment would support them in becoming physically and emotionally healthier were more likely to see their productivity decrease.

It also appears that those workers in more sedentary occupations, like clerical workers and those in the transportation industry, saw a greater decrease in productivity when not engaging in healthy lifestyle choices, while those effects were less pronounced among those in industries that were more naturally active, like farming and construction work.

The bottom line is that businesses owe it to themselves to promote healthier lifestyle choices among their employees. Jerry Noyce, CEO of the Health Enhancement Research Organization put it this way:

“It’s critical that companies look deeper at productivity loss and measure it to understand the impact it is making on their bottom line. Business leaders have the ability to reduce the factors that significantly impact productivity loss by implementing comprehensive, best practice workplace wellness programs focused on well-being improvement, which in turn can lead to improvements in employee satisfaction, productivity and profitability for employers.”

The best thing to do is try to include some of the food items mentioned above as much as possible in your daily diet, especially while at work. It’s okay to have a bit of greasy goodness here and there. But don’t make a habit out of it! And exercise. If your place of business doesn’t have a workout facility, plan a walk around the hallways or parking lot during lunch. And if you’re part of the management team responsible for increasing productivity, encourage these behaviors. Your bottom line depends on it!

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Alyssa Shea

Alyssa Shea

Alyssa Shea transplanted from Illinois to South Carolina. She loves to write, read, and spend time with her dog and her family. Alyssa is very active on social media. She has been part of the AccelaWork team since 2013.
Alyssa Shea

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