Eating healthily can be a challenge at the best of times, let alone eating healthily at work. At first glance, shared office space appears to be one of the most incongruous environments for having a balanced diet – but is that really the case?
In shared office space across the land, 3pm is a perilous time. Coworkers are subject to the notorious 3pm slump: energy (and impetus) drops, sugar cravings kick in and good intentions for healthy eating fly out the window. In Le Bureau’s shared office space, this slump is remedied with the arrival of the daily biscuit basket. On one hand, it functions as an office hub, bringing people together and encouraging coworkers to meet. Sadly, it also encourages coworkers to eat… that quick-hit sugar kick is often too tempting to resist.
Then there is the nature of the workers themselves. Shared office spaces are a natural home for entrepreneurs, start ups and SMEs. These are people who, by necessity, put work first and wellbeing somewhere further down the to-do list.
Long hours, excessive workloads and reactive practice leaves little time to prepare fresh, nutritious meals.
The same applies to exercise – it’s hard to keep fit when you are at your desk at 8am and your only respite is a trip to the loo.
Finally, there’s the social side – which is a not-so-subtle euphemism for calorific booze. Coworkers are not bonded by ‘the work’ as colleagues in more traditional office set-ups are; in shared offices, coworkers gravitate towards people they like, rather than people they work with day in, day out. Without the restriction of hierarchy, they form lasting friendships, usually forged in the pub.
But look a little deeper and, despite these obstacles, shared office space actually encourages healthy eating. A mixture of design and practicality gives coworkers both choice and autonomy – key aspects of creating, and maintaining, a healthy diet.
No such thing as a ‘subsidised’ lunch
Whilst the office space is shared, coworking offices do not have a ‘staff canteen’. Instead, private companies set up shop to fill the hunger hole and offer members a range of culinary options. Food is not subsidised which means, though it is marginally more expensive, it is healthier. Take Spire’s Salads, for instance – the newest edition to Le Bureau’s lunch array. They serve handmade salads, packed full of nutritious ingredients and the staff can explain what’s in every bite. Healthy eating, right on you’re the doorstep, straight to your plate – you barely have to leave your desk.
Think of shared office space like a microcosm: it powers itself, connects itself and must feed itself. In the absence of a canteen, shared offices tend to have high-spec kitchen facilities where members can store and prepare their own meals. This affords coworkers variation in and autonomy in their diet; they can bring in fresh ingredients every day to make healthy meals in little time. Microwaves mean that you can bring hot food to your hot desk – a necessity in winter months.
Fruits of labour
Members of Le Bureau’s shared office space are not always lured by sweet treats. A Monday breakfast basket kicks off the week; on Tuesday, free fruit is on offer and in addition to the (much loved) coffee machine, a wide variety of herbal teas are available 24/7. We also run healthy eating initiatives – and these are not uncommon in shared office space everywhere.
Shared office space is flexible by nature – they have to be to accommodate members’ schedules. The upshot? Coworkers can choose how, and when, to eat, having food when they are hungry rather than scoffing during an allotted hour. They can go out, BYO, and choose whether they spend their lunch break at their desk or far away, taking time to enjoy their food.
More tips for eating well at work
Still struggling? You’re not alone. Here are some foolproof ways to keep bad cravings at bay…
- Disrupt old habits. 3pm biscuits are a trip wire for most. Bring in healthier snacks for when everyone else is drifting towards the Digestives – you may find it’s the eating you miss, not the sugar high.
It also helps to take a meeting or be out of the office at that time – the basket will come and go, and you’ll realise it was habit rather then need.
- Dine on leftovers. One of the oldest tricks in the book: make a little extra dinner, set some aside before you sit down to eat and you have a home-cooked meal for lunch the next day.
- Batch cook. As long as you don’t mind eating the same meal every day, batch cooking is a quick way to improve your diet. Stick portions in the freezer at home and let them defrost at work.
- Cake amnesty. Within your company, agree that birthdays will not be celebrated with cakes and booze. Get everyone to chip in for a proper present; state cards only or give the Birthday Boy/Girl the afternoon off. Surely that’s better than a biscuit?