The Dreaded 3 PM Slump: The Effects of a Poor Diet and Employee Productivity

Ever wonder if your employees are secretly robots?

It may sound like a crazy question. But you’ll notice that past the middle of the day, it seems like everyone begins to power down.

What causes this sudden slump? Did their battery power drain completely?

In a way, the answer is “yes.” We get our energy from food and drink, and employee diet can have a major impact on employee productivity. Keep reading to discover the full scoop about the effects of a poor diet!

Cause and Effect

Why is the nutrition of your employees so important? It all has to do with longterm cause and effect.

For example, you may not think too much about what individual employees are eating for meals and snacks. But the CDC has verified that bad nutrition is one of the biggest behaviors that lead to obesity and chronic disease.

It’s pretty much all downhill from there. The worse an employee’s health gets, the more their productivity suffers. And this can impact your bottom line in a number of surprising ways.

You’re Footing the Bill

From a short-term perspective, bad employee health may not matter much to an employer. Why is it a big deal if many employees slide in obesity or other health issues?

The answer lies with their increasing medical costs. Someone who is obese has annual medical costs over $2,700 higher than those who are not obese.

Those medical costs are passed along to you as their employer. And you get hit again when you factor in lost productivity.

The majority of lost workplace productivity stems from a poor diet. This is why the “3:00 pm” slump is so real: an office filled with unhealthy eating behaviors means an office in which very little gets done from day to day.

It’s Getting Worse

It’s easy to dismiss concerns about obesity as a kind of alarmism. Is this really a growing concern, or is this just the latest topic that we worry ourselves about?

Make no mistake, obesity is a problem that has only gotten worse in the last 50 years. Think back to movies, TV shows, and photographs from the 1960s. How common was it to see someone suffering from obesity?

Nowadays, Americans are (on average) 24 pounds heavier than they were in 1960. That number is only going to increase if we don’t do something to reverse this disastrous course. 

Change the Vending Game

Of course, most employers are a bit complicit when it comes to this problem. Chances are that your building or office has its own snack machines and soda machines to help out hungry employees.

Unfortunately, the typical foods inside these machines are not conducive to productivity. Do you think a tired employee really needs a Coke and a candy bar? They may get a temporary boost from caffeine and sugar, but they are sure to crash again before you know it.

You can change things up by replacing traditional vending machines with Healthy YOU vending machines. This gives you a chance to improve workplace nutrition while also boosting the number of fruits and veggies your employees consume.

For more information, check out this Healthy YOU vending review.

Fruits and Veggies Really Are the Secret

Growing up means sometimes admitting that mom and dad were right. It turns out they were right about at least one more thing: eating fruits and veggies really is that important.

Fruits and veggies are part of the “powerhouse” nutritional items that also include things like whole grains. They are important because they give someone the energy to be thoughtful and productive without providing a nasty crash like caffeine and sugar.

With that being said, the secret to a more productive workplace doesn’t stop with more employees eating their fruits and vegetables. They must also know when the right time to eat is.

Meal Frequency Matters

As a culture, we have been traditioned to rely on 3 meals a day. And while that works for some people, it can actually have some negative consequences. For example, someone eats an early lunch and then spends the afternoon starving.

A hungry employee obviously won’t be very productive. And an employee that relies on sugar and caffeine for a quick boost will not stay productive for long.

Instead of the traditional 3 meals a day, encourage your employees to try 5 or 6 smaller, healthier meals throughout the day.

A New Workplace Culture

Obviously, you cannot force your employees to change their diet in the name of productivity. However, you may be able to transform the workplace culture in another way: by offering health prevention programs and health incentives.

Health prevention programs may include information and presentations regarding healthier eating. Some employees may genuinely not know much about nutrition, and such programs are a large step in the right direction for them.

Incentive programs include competitions between workplace teams to see who can lose the most combined weight. These programs are great because they harness competitive spirit while also providing great incentives.

Incentives could include anything from gift cards to time off to vacations. Remember, the cost of a single reward is a drop in the bucket compared to the costs of rampant obesity in the office.

Real Team-Building

A healthier and more productive office is its own reward for any manager. But did you know that incentive programs are also a great team-building activity?

Many workplaces rely on team-building activities that are boring and played out. For example, doing another trust fall doesn’t actually build much trust!

But team-based competitions encourage employees to work together. Many of them will find accountability partners to help with weight loss.

And once they know they can rely on each in high-stakes competition, they will have each other’s backs more than ever regarding various workplace challenges. 

Effects Of a Poor Diet: The Next Step

Now you know that lower productivity is one of the effects of a poor diet. But do you know how else you can boost workplace productivity and efficiency?

We provide businesses with the edge they need to succeed and thrive in a competitive marketplace. To discover the next innovation that will transform your office, check out our Business Products and Services section today!