Is Your Office Bad for Your Health?

Is Your Office Bad for Your Health?

Dentists warn of office ‘cake culture’

The dental profession has warned people that the practice of bringing in cakes and other sweets to the office to mark employees’ birthdays and other special events could be damaging to their health.

The Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons says it believes that the practice of bringing in some form of ‘sweet treat’ has virtually become a daily ritual in some companies. It also says that January is a particularly bad time of the year for this, as people are more likely to have leftover cakes and chocolates from the festive season.

Professor Nigel Hunt, dean of the faculty at the Royal College of Surgeons, said:

“We need a culture change in offices and other workplaces that encourages healthy eating and helps workers avoid caving in to sweet temptations such as cakes, sweets and biscuits.”

He went on to say that “for many people the workplace is now the primary site of their sugar intake.”

David Price, group director of Health Assured, a company that specialises in providing health and wellbeing solutions, went further and suggested that the ‘cake culture’ was “contributing to the current obesity epidemic.” He added that “a healthy body equals a healthy mind, which works wonders in helping both employers and their employees be more efficient and happy whilst at work.”

It can be in companies’ interests to promote healthy initiatives as doing so can help to reduce absenteeism. Mr Price therefore proposes that companies consider providing healthy snacks, such as fresh fruit, to their staff; and also that they look into providing exercise facilities within the workplace, or enter into a deal with a local gym.

Here at Kennedy Pearce we provide fresh fruit to our employees every day, free of charge. We have also provided support for staff who have undertaken fitness challenges, such as the Tough Mudder race, in order to raise money for charity and boost their personal fitness levels.

A survey of 2,000 office workers by Nationwide Building Society revealed that the average employee spends £1,000 per year on various ‘workplace costs’, which include:

  • Purchasing clothing and bags as part of an office wardrobe
  • Buying teas and coffees
  • Buying sweets, cakes and the like
  • Paying for work-based socialising
  • Buying presents for a Secret Santa
  • Sponsoring colleagues raising money for charity
  • Collections for colleagues’ birthdays, births of children, leaving presents and other special occasions

The costs of purchasing lunches and travelling to work are not included in the £1,000 figure.

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