Could a regular supply of fruit in the office really make a difference to employee wellbeing? We look at the results of the recent ‘Great Fruit Experiment’.

With absenteeism and presenteeism on the rise in UK workplaces and costing employers huge amounts in lost productivity, it’s perhaps not surprising that some companies are going to great lengths to try and improve employee wellbeing at work.

But while free workplace massages, regular away days and subsidised gym memberships are all common initiatives employers are investing in, could something as simple as a regular supply of fresh fruit to the office really make a difference?

The Great Fruit Experiment

Fruitful Office, a Dublin office fruit delivery company, recently conducted what hey’ve called the ‘Great Fruit Experiment’, to see what impact, if any, a regular supply of fresh fruit could have on employee wellbeing. The first thing it found was that the simple act of a company investing in the wellbeing of its staff could generate results. In fact, there was an 11 percent increase in the number of workers who agreed that their company ‘enabled them to work more productively’ when there was a weekly fruit delivery.

That proved to be the tip of the iceberg when it came to the benefits fresh fruit could bring. 79 percent of staff said it made them feel more valued as employees, which is a central factor both in employee engagement and motivation. Perhaps more important still was the impact, or perceived impact, on the quality of life of employees. Over 80 percent of the businesses that received a fruit delivery said the fruit had positively impacted the quality of life in their offices, which is sure to give plenty of other businesses food for thought.

The role of fruit in combating stress

Stress is one of the greatest contributors to a lack of employee productivity, engagement and general wellbeing at work. In fact, according to government figures, of all the days lost to ill-health in UK workplaces, stress accounted for more lost days than any other condition.

There are several ways fruit can boost employee health and combat the impact of stress. Firstly, the fact that there’s a regular supply of fresh fruit in the office can serve as a highly visible reminder that their employer cares about their health and nutrition. That in itself can help to keep employees engaged.

When it comes to stress-relief, avoiding the vending machine and reaching for a basket of fresh fruit also has significant proven benefits. For example, potassium-rich bananas contain the mood-boosting chemical dopamine, which can plummet during times of stress. Bananas are also an excellent source of B vitamins, such as vitamin B6, which improves the nervous system’s ability to run efficiently while decreasing stress and fatigue.

Consuming foods that are high in vitamin C, such as oranges and other citrus fruits, also helps to reduce stress. Vitamin C not only lowers the level of the stress hormone cortisol in the body, but it can also decrease blood pressure during high-anxiety situations.

Employees who feel valued perform better at work

Although the ‘Great Fruit Experiment’ reveals some surprising findings about the impact fruit can have on employee wellbeing, it’s important to remember that employees who feel valued are naturally more invested in their work environment. While there are undoubtedly physical benefits associated with providing fresh fruit at work, the simple act of caring can have a significant impact on the way employees think and feel about their workplace.

Do you think healthy eating can have an impact on your wellbeing at work? What other factors do you think contribute to how you feel? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below. 

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