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Wellness, new norm in corporations

Wellness, new norm in corporations

With changing Indian demographics and availability of limited time for the urban working Indian, we are currently witnessing exponential growth in the food sector. While more eateries have emerged to elevate the Indian consumer’s spending on experimentation with varied cuisines, employers, too, have implemented health and nutrition in their corporate wellness programmes.

As workplaces become more demanding, corporates are trying to do their bit to keep employees happy and healthy to increase efficiency at work. Not surprisingly, most companies that are lauded as some of the best places to work for, also have the best food programmes in-house.

Today, having a succinct yet nutrition-rich meal programme in a corporate setting weaves its net beyond just having food on the table. It is now relatable to the attribute of engagement with employees and to help them keep their health a priority.  Estimates suggest that in countries like France, Spain, Italy, the UK and the USA, 75% of employees take at least one more break other than lunch, during which over 90% eat or drink something.

Unorganised sector

Companies, hence, are not just adding nutritional value to these breaks through their caterers but are also personalising such breaks to strengthen the connection with their employees. The adoption of such trends can also be spotted amongst the largely unorganised catering sector as well, offering round-the-clock services, keeping in mind the varying time schedules of employees.

From preparing exquisite meals with ingredients of the highest quality to offering them at a subsidised rate, companies today go above and beyond keeping their employees’ well-being in mind. This, in turn, bodes well for such companies as they find their employees more alert and efficient when needed.

One such example is that of a leading French multinational company, which once held a mid-day business forecast meeting for its employees and changed the lunch menu to include trendy superfoods, including multigrain sandwiches, leafy salads, dried fruits and fresh vegetable juices.

The outcome of the menu change was that not only did the number of ideas presented increase by about 10%, the consumption of coffee also reduced substantially, despite the meeting being extended by 30 minutes for the first time.

It is this attribute that companies are now looking to capitalise on as food available at a workplace impacts not just the employees’ association with an organisation but also increases productivity drastically. Corporate wellness, today, has become an agenda for companies, aiming to provide their employees with nutritional value and improving their health.

Adding to the incessant effort of bettering the quality of food is also the idea of encouraging employees to participate in wellness programmes like yoga and zumba classes, stress management and work-life balance seminars, smoking cessation services and fitness competitions. Companies have also introduced apps that allow employees to interact with others from different departments over a meal. Such apps cultivate camaraderie among employees and deepen the bond that an employee has with an organisation.

Another app that companies are now increasingly adopting aims at reducing food wastage. The effort can strengthen a company’s contribution to social welfare, and help address larger issues of starvation and malnutrition in a society.

The wellness that companies seek to steer through such initiatives directly bolsters their presence in the societal space, while employees witness such moves as a humanising attribute in a business.

Evidently, several companies have imbibed the concept of wellness in their day-to-day operations to ensure sustained engagement with their employees and have also revolutionised the concept of wellness amongst them. This transformation has helped increase productivity.

Today, corporate wellness is no longer an additional choice; it is more a pragmatic approach to deepen the bond with employees and enable them to contribute to bigger profits for a company. Therefore, while ensuring that their employees’ taste buds are satisfied through delicious meals, corporates are also increasingly adopting a healthy diet as part of their corporate wellness norm.

(The writer is Chief Executive Officer, Elior India)

The article was published on Deccanherald.com on September 21,2017