With half our waking hours spent at work, it’s no surprise that the environment we work in has a huge impact on our health. Although workplaces are becoming more responsible in terms of providing employees with a healthy working environment, one area where most companies are falling behind is in planning healthy meetings.
According to one report from the British Dietetic Association, 46% of individuals said they were never encouraged to take a break to move around during long meetings. Long hours spent sat down and unhealthy food options mean concentration, productivity, and energy levels can plummet. Most meeting attendees will also identify with the post lunch slump, which again leads to poor alertness.
So what can be done?
In 2015, The World Obesity Federation launched their Healthy Venue Award programme, designed to encourage venues to support healthier choices and minimise the negative health effects of conferences. The programme acknowledges positive action to promote healthy eating and physical activity at conferences – examples include healthier coffee breaks to providing standing space during meetings.
For longer conferences, event planners can help promote activity by including morning walks and runs to yoga sessions. Catering teams can work on providing healthier menus and highlighting healthy options to help promote choices.
The Conference Centre in Dublin (CCD) is a great example of a venue that has taken positive action that has result in a Silver Healthy Venue accreditation. Some of the features (which are great inspiration for event planners) include:
- Natural light
- Ready access to fresh air
- Healthy lunch options including fruit, fruit and nut bars, yogurts, Irish spring water and fresh orange juice
- ‘Super food Health Breaks’ featuring pomegranate quinoa bars and peanut butter protein bites, to help to revive delegates during conference breaks
- Digital displays encouraging the use of stairs
- Maps and details for 3km, 5km and 10km walks and runs
- A relaxation area with beanbags comfortable armchairs and rugs
These steps require investment, and may seem low on the priority list but if individuals attending a conference are left feeling tired, low in energy and struggling to concentrate due to the environment and food choices, it’s arguable that more money will be wasted in the long-term due to a lack of learning and uptake of information. Employees are more likely to enjoy meetings and have a positive experience if they are within an environment that helps them to feel good!
BDA Work Ready Dietitians can help you create a healthy workplace environment and culture. All you need to do is get in contact with the Work Ready Team by calling 0121 2008080 or email firstname.lastname@example.org