Meal program provides healthy lunches for remote workers
Disruption from the coronavirus has infiltrated the daily lives of employees, causing challenges for both our mental and physical well-being. For many, focusing on good nutrition is on the back burner.
Twenty-seven percent of people reported snacking more during the coronavirus, and 15% reported eating more often than usual, according to a study by the International Food Information Council. Forty-two percent rely more on prepackaged foods than the previous month, even though they think they are a less healthy option.
“The quality of the fuel we put into our bodies ultimately controls performance,” says Michael Wystrach, CEO of Freshly, a meal subscription service. “So how well our brains work, how our emotions and hormones are released, how productive we are, it really starts with food. ”
The coronavirus has exacerbated the challenge of accessing healthy food for many people in the United States. While there has been a surge in demand for groceries and grocery delivery services during the pandemic, 37 million Americans are considered “food insecure” which means they do not have access to affordable and nutritious food options.
To address these concerns, Freshly created a new meal service called Fresh for business provide healthy and affordable meals to employees working remotely. The program allows employers to offer free or subsidized meal plans consisting of up to 12 meals per week. Employers including PwC and KPMG, among others, are partnering with Freshly, which costs an average of $ 8 per meal per employee.
“We have used our platform to meet the needs of customers who say we have a lot of employees working from home who work hard but are tense and have a lot of challenges on their plates,” said Wystrach. “Employers wanted them to benefit from a healthy diet by very quickly enlisting a few tens to thousands of employees.
Lack of adequate nutrition can have devastating and costly consequences: in the United States, 40% of adults are obese and 90% of overweight people suffer from prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, a disease often caused by poor diet. According to American Diabetes Association, the cost of medical expenses and lost productivity due to diagnosed diabetes was $ 327.2 billion in 2017, the most recent data available.
“Type 2 diabetes is the fastest growing disease in America, and it’s mainly caused by poor nutrition. It costs employers and employees a lot, ”says Wystrach. “One of the challenges now is that the traditional lunch hour is over and convenience is the pinnacle. But we make bad decisions when we rely on convenience with our food.
Providing food in the workplace is a much desired perk, with 73% of employees saying they want healthy cafeteria and snack options at work, according to a survey by Quantum Workplace and Limeade. However, only 32% provided free snacks and food, and only 17% had an on-site cafeteria available for workers, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.
As employers begin to think about their return-to-work strategies and how they will make their offices safe and benefits for the health and well-being of their employees, providing meal options should be a major consideration. , says Wystrach.
“Especially when we think about social distancing, the less you send your employees, the safer everyone is,” he says. “Employers will also think about the costs of post-COVID health care. How do they go about reducing overall health care costs? It is truly in everyone’s best interests to provide benefits that promote health and wellness.
Meal offerings and good nutrition are a win-win solution for employers and their workers, says Wystrach.
“Health and happiness ultimately create a more productive employee,” he says. “When you try to find a win-win solution for everyone, it boosts productivity, creates happy employees, and lowers costs over time. The focus will continue to be on the benefits that provide this. ”