England’s Food Standards Agency boss Susan Jebb recently compared eating cakes at work with passive smoking in office cubicles, walls all over the country shook. Jeb stated to The Times:
Professor Jebb is correct in critiquing unhealthy eating habits in the workplace, which can lead to unhealthy eating habits. The excessive consumption of harmful items like cakes and processed foods may naturally cause dietary problems such as the obesity epidemic and coronary heart disease. However, this must be weighed against the social and positive benefits of introducing food in the workplace.
When coworkers bake biscuits or cakes, give them away, and share them with each other, it certainly increases the enjoyment of both the giver and the recipient. The employees in Sweden think this to be true: Fika is an everyday social occasion that is centered around sharing meals at work, primarily cakes and sweets. However, Fika requires a break from workstations or computers to converse with coworkers over food. Sharing meals with colleagues has been proven beneficial, ranging from better attitudes towards work and greater mental well-being to enhanced teamwork.
Let them take the cake
Much of the debate following Jebb’s remarks has been focused on the inability of people to stop eating cakes or biscuits, which have been left out. This could be more dangerous when people put the cake or snack tables or areas and then put food out to allow people to eat throughout the day.
Employees also have other food-related pressures that should be an issue for the government and companies. Certain studies have shown that employees are frequently overwhelmed to have the time to eat healthily. One approach to stop this is to ensure there are alternatives for employees to eat during their work hours, whether on-site or via off-site options.
It is believed that the UK has a long history of “workers’ canteens,” which were first introduced during the Second World War, which made it mandatory for companies employing over 250 people to have a place to eat for all. By the mid-1950s, cafeterias within the workplace became less popular, primarily because of changing preferences, negative experiences from the past “institutional catering,” and a lack of choices, in addition to the demise of government subsidy.
Ticket restaurants are no longer operating in The UK, where they began. However, these schemes continue to use across 50 countries. This type of program works best for workplaces without the option of a canteen or designated eating space. Certain governments have even recognized it as a tax-deductible advantage, and employers can benefit from tax-free benefits by providing the voucher.
Eating at your desk
In several countries, including the UK, workplace food habits have changed with time. Most workers now have the time to eat lunch for an hour. A survey conducted in 2021 of 1333 UK businesses revealed that 6 percent of employees in the UK frequently do not eat lunch. As British businessman Alan Sugar reportedly said in an interview with employees about their diets at his company in 1987:
However, eating at work is essential to productivity if it is balanced. If International Labour Organization (ILO) examined eating habits worldwide in 2005, they found that an unbalanced or unhealthy eating regimen in the workplace can lower productivity by 20 percent. It also recognized the significance of vouchers in providing workers with social benefits and the ability to provide financial assistance to local economies.
In the last few several years, COVID changed the way we work. Developments like internet-based ordering and delivery to the workplace also have affected the foods people can consume for lunch. In the future, reviving systems like ticket-based restaurant chains in the UK could generate significant revenues for local eateries and catering establishments struggling to sustain income due to closures and financial pressures due to the costs of running a business.
Although many large corporations offer in-house or similar ticket-type systems to their employees, this is usually an incentive for high-paid tech professionals nowadays, and less so for those with lower incomes who require more, as the cost of food is currently at 16%.
Socializing can bring numerous benefits, ranging from health and nutrition to improved efficiency at work. Cake eating can be one of these. In addition, the government should provide workplace policies to help employees eat less during their careers. This will allow people and the businesses they work for to have food of every kind – to be shared during the workday.