Office food is the biggest obstacle to wellness, employees say
- While 66% of HR managers say their organization's health and wellness offerings have increased in the past five years, workers still report many obstacles to achieving their health goals, according to findings from a Robert Half survey.
- Although 89% of employees surveyed think their organizations support their health and wellness goals, many felt food habits at the office were an obstacle to those goals. The top offenders include food at office celebrations (30%), snacks brought by coworkers (22%), free meals (10%) and vending machine fare (10%). Others cited the office candy jar, after-work drinks, business trips and "bagel Mondays."
- The survey also found that for lunch, 44% of employees brought their own meals from home, 18% grabbed something on their way into work, 12% dined out and 7% said they ordered delivery. Robert Half's OfficeTeam polled 306 HR managers and 1,006 employees for the report.
The growth of wellness programs is positive news for both employees looking to get healthier and employers who want to help workers meet their goals (which improves health spending ROI). That wellness offerings have expanded in the past five years seems to jive with data showing employers plan to double down on the programs.
But there are concerns over the execution of wellness programs; 61% of employees told Willis Towers Watson researchers that their employer's well-being initiatives did not meet their needs. It's tough to break down all of the obstacles to better health on an individual level, but researchers commonly cite aspects of the modern workplace as detrimental to physical and mental health — from prolonged hours of sitting (or standing) to overwork to excessive sugar consumption. A majority of workers in another study said the workplace has a negative effect on their health.
That's why employers have a much larger task at hand: building a culture of health. A combination of initiatives beyond just "working out," including financial and behavioral well-being benefits, is statistically more effective at driving engagement. That may be why individual employers have experimented with relatively new perks, like back pain reduction initiatives and meditation rooms. Others have opted for more mainstream adjustments, like remote-work flexibility and extended time off.