#HR Trends and Insights

Discover Why Your Employees Shouldn’t Skip Meals During the Workday

March 11, 2024

When it comes to productivity in the workplace, one often overlooked factor is the importance of proper nutrition.

Caught up in their busy schedules and tight deadlines, many employees tend to skip meals or opt for quick, unhealthy foods instead.

Skipping a meal can become a dangerous cycle, leading to detrimental effects on physical and mental well-being, as well as work performance.

Employers should foster a healthier and more productive workforce, and Edenred’s Ticket Restaurant makes it easy to do just that.

What Happens to the Body When You Skip Meals?

Many employees find themselves skipping meals due to busy work schedules, leading to broad-reaching negative consequences on their physical health and emotional well-being.

Skipping even one meal can disrupt the body’s metabolism and lead to weight gain or loss, depending on individual factors. Low blood sugar also causes feelings of irritability, confusion, and fatigue.

To compensate for the meal skipping, the body starts to increase the production of cortisol, leaving the individual hungry, angry, and stressed.

On a busy day, one skipped breakfast can lead to a day full of indigestion. When you don’t eat, the stomach remains empty for a long time.

This leads to a build-up of gastric acids in the stomach. The stomach then gets upset, and it’s common to experience bloating, gas, acidity, and pain.

How Does Skipping Meals Impact Mental Health?

When a body is forced to skip a meal, it immediately starts to shut down to conserve food and energy, as it wonders when the next meal will come.

This has serious consequences on the body that extends to the brain, including the following:

1. Increased Stress Levels

Skipping meals can cause employees to feel more stressed and overwhelmed, affecting their ability to concentrate and perform effectively at their jobs throughout the remainder of the day.

2. Irritability and Mood Swings

Lack of proper nutrition can lead to irritability and mood swings, which may adversely impact employees’ interactions with both colleagues and clients.

3. Decreased Motivation

Employees who skip meals are prone to experience a decline in motivation, which can have long-term implications for their overall job satisfaction and levels of productivity.

4. Emotional Challenges

Adults with poor dietary intake can have trouble managing emotions and resolving conflicts rationally.

How Does Skipping Meals Impact Work?

Skipping breakfast, lunch, or dinner can cause blood sugar levels to drop, weight loss issues, health issues, and mood disorders, but it also has an impact on work in a vast number of ways.

1. Decreased Morale and Engagement

When employees skip meals, they may experience feelings of irritability, mood swings, and increased stress levels.

This can negatively impact their overall morale and engagement at work, leading to a less harmonious and productive team dynamic.

2. Lack of Energy and Focus

Skipping meals deprives the body of essential nutrients, and energy needed for optimal brain function.

Employees who go without eating for extended periods are more likely to experience fatigue, lack of focus, and decreased cognitive abilities.

This can lead to reduced productivity and poor decision-making in the workplace.

3. Impaired Problem-Solving Skills

Proper nutrition is essential for maintaining optimal cognitive function, including problem-solving skills.

When employees skip meals, they may struggle to think creatively and find effective solutions to the challenges they encounter at work.

This can hinder their individual growth and the overall progress of projects and tasks.

4. Team Building and Collaboration

Meal breaks provide an opportunity for employees to gather, eat, relax, and engage in informal conversations.

Skipping meals robs them of this valuable time for team building and collaboration.

Encouraging employees to take regular meal breaks can foster stronger relationships, boost morale, and enhance teamwork within your organization.

Tips to Encourage Healthy Eating Habits

Now that we understand the importance of regular meals and snacks for your employees, let’s explore some tips to help promote healthy eating habits within your organization:

  • Provide a well-equipped, clean, and comfortable dining area.
  • Offer a variety of nutritious food options in your workplace cafeteria or vending machines.
  • Encourage employees to take designated meal breaks and discourage eating at their desks.
  • Organize company-wide wellness challenges to promote the habit of healthy eating.
  • Educate employees about the benefits of proper nutrition through workshops or newsletters.
  • Consider providing healthy snacks during meetings or extended workweek hours.

Breakfast Is an Important Meal

If your team is prone to skip breakfast to get to work on time, this can have negative repercussions.

A 2023 study found not eating breakfast compromised sleep patterns and increased symptoms of depression.

The National Library of Medicine published several studies that “associated skipping (not having) breakfast with cardiometabolic risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure, unfavorable lipid profiles, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.”

The journal Proceedings of the Nutrition Society showed adults with the habit of skipping breakfast were more likely to miss out on several key nutrients and make unhealthier choices throughout the day when it came time to eat.

Support Employee Well-Being with Meal Perks

To help address the detrimental effects on the body that does not get enough food and avoid skipping meals, consider providing meal benefits to your workforce via Ticket Restaurant.

This benefit offers employees the convenience of aPrepaid Card funded monthly with a meal allowance.

Promoting health, nutrition, and employee well-being, this program can be used to pay for meals during working hours at local eateries, restaurants, grocery stores, and through food-delivery apps.

By offering meal perks, employers prioritize the health and happiness of their employees, creating a positive work environment that fosters loyalty, job satisfaction, and staff retention, supporting employees’ eating habits throughout the work week, and contributing to a more productive workforce.

Improve Employee Morale and Engagement

  • Reduced stress and improved job satisfaction: By offering meal benefits, employers demonstrate their commitment to their employees’ welfare, leading to increased job satisfaction and reduced stress levels.
  • Enhanced sense of belonging: Meal benefits encourage employees to gather and socialize during meal times, fostering a sense of community and strengthening workplace relationships.
  • Team cohesion: Shared meal breaks encourage social interactions among employees, fostering a sense of camaraderie and teamwork. This improves communication, collaboration, and overall synergy within the workplace.

Enhance Physical Health

  • Increased nutrition and energy: Meal perks ensure that employees have access to nutritious food, providing them with the energy they need to perform their best.
  • Boosted immune system: Proper nutrition from a healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner supports a strong immune system, reducing sick days and enhancing overall productivity.
  • Health and wellness focus: Offering meal benefits promotes a culture of overall health and wellness within the organization. This can extend beyond nutrition, encouraging employees to prioritize exercise, work-life balance, and self-care.

Augmented Productivity and Performance

  • Increased productivity: Proper nutrition positively impacts cognitive function, improving employees’ ability to concentrate, problem-solve, and make effective decisions. Well-nourished employees are more likely to have higher energy levels and be more productive throughout the workday.
  • Better focus and concentration: Regular meals fuel employees’ brains, improving cognitive function, focus, and concentration levels.
  • Increased creativity and problem-solving abilities: Nutritional foods enhance employees’ cognitive abilities, enabling them to think more creatively and effectively solve work-related challenges faster.
  • Decreased absenteeism and presenteeism: Through the provision of meal benefits, employers can help reduce absenteeism by promoting good physical health, as well as combat presenteeism, where employees show up for work but are not fully productive.

Offer Meal Benefits Through Edenred

Encouraging your employees to prioritize regular meals is crucial for their overall well-being and productivity.

By understanding the negative consequences of skipping meals, you can take the necessary steps to create a supportive environment that promotes healthy eating habits.

Professionals today seek organizations that value their holistic well-being and offer benefits that support a healthy lifestyle.

Employers can prioritize the welfare of their workforce and obtain a competitive advantage by adding Edenred’s Ticket Restaurant as part of their benefits program.

Schedule a meeting today to learn more!

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