Investing in Workforce Nutrition: You Are What You Eat
by Troy Schrenk
In too many remote energy or construction worksites, healthy dining options are, to put it mildly, limited. Fast food, greasy spoons and convenience stores are the order of the day. Even if there are grocery stores, and even if workers know how to cook, there are usually no real kitchens available. Companies today need to understand that tasty and nutritious food isn’t an optional frill. It’s vital to the health, safety and morale of the workforce.
Nutrition Matters for Performance
Sheer calories for energy, as well as the right combination of nutrients, are necessary for those working in rigorous conditions on remote sites. Our white paper on workforce housing and feeding solutions lays out the necessities. Workers performing heavy labor in extreme conditions can need 4,000 calories per day, with a balance of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.
Fast food, junk food and even basic diner or cafeteria food may seem hearty and filling. But ultimately a sustained diet that relies on these options lacks essential vitamins and minerals needed to work at 100-percent efficiency during long, hard shifts. After all, the right fuel is critical to ensure that the heavy equipment used on remote sites operates without a hitch—shouldn’t employees have high quality fuel as well?
Good food keeps good employees
We’ve noted before how housing must be part of today’s strategy for attracting and keeping employees—and food is part of that strategy. The pool of skilled workers dwindles thanks to Baby Boomers, and young workers are reluctant to accept jobs in remote conditions if it means subsisting on sub-par food for months on end. Poor food affects morale as well as health—it should come as no surprise if employees jump to competitors in search of better living conditions and better meals.
Investing in nutrition = Investing in a better workforce
Target Lodging understands that you are what you eat at work. Employee nutrition is part of what we call “the Economics of Comfort®” and delivers a high return on investment in terms of workforce health, well-being and productivity.
According to a 2013 study by the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, workers who ate healthy food through the day were 25% more likely to have higher job performance. Coors Brewing Company is just one of many corporations that have made nutritional investments that paid off: they reported a $6.15 gain for every dollar invested in employee nutrition programs.
At the same time, Target Lodging knows that a focus on nutrition doesn’t mean food has to be less appealing. The intangible effect of tasty food on morale simply can’t be measured. Appealing salad bars help workers enjoy their vegetables. Great desserts make workers feel at home. And special events such as BBQ Saturdays build morale and bonding.
We’ve taken these lessons to heart when we design our remote workforce housing solutions, and the results have been a high ROI for our customers. Healthful and appealing food choices are crucial to the Economics of Comfort—food is an investment companies can’t ignore. You know what they say: you are what you eat.