By Peter Unitt.

With UK productivity trailing behind the G7 average and mental well-being proving tricky for many British businesses, could fresh fruit be a good first step?

People say “you are what you eat” and although munching on nuts won’t turn you into a cashew, consuming foods which contain vitamins, fats, proteins, fibres, minerals and antioxidants that support your body could transform how you feel, how you look and even how you think.

A diet full of “the right stuff” can have a huge positive impact on almost every aspect of health and everyday life. From whether you wake up full of beans and raring to go, or tired and dreading the day ahead, to how long you can focus on everyday tasks.

Apply this concept to your workforce by banishing unhealthy snack machines and embracing healthier food as a company, and you could begin to see these positive changes manifesting in your business as a whole.

Productivity & mental health in UK workplaces

In 2016, the gulf between the UK workforce’s productivity and that of the rest of the G7 widened even further. The widest gap on record since 1991, the latest statistics show that per hour, the average UK worker is 18% less productive than workers in the remaining 6 world-leading nations of the G7.

At the same time, levels of poor mental well-being are also uncomfortably high in British workplaces. 488,000 cases of workplace stress, anxiety and depression were recorded between 2015/16 and this is just the tip of the unreported iceberg. In total, poor mental health accounted for 11.7 million lost working days over the same period.

When is an apple not an apple?

Although improving mental well-being at work and boosting productivity cannot be fixed with a few extra bananas, encouraging lifestyle changes, starting with a healthier diet, is certainly a step towards creating change.

In this context an apple is not just an apple; it’s a demonstration that a business cares about the health and well-being of its staff. It’s also a great first step towards a healthier lifestyle. Establishing a healthy eating culture at work could inspire staff to eat better and exercise more in their free time. According to Fruitful Office‘s recent “Great Fruit Experiment”, the benefits of free fresh fruit in businesses are many:

●      79% of staff said that fresh fruit made them feel more valued as employees

●      11% claimed it boosted their productivity

●     70% introduced more fruit into their diet in general

Fresh fruit: The first step?

So could fresh fruit be the first step towards happier, healthier and more productive workplaces? The statistics certainly seem to suggest so. Fruit may not be a magical silver bullet, but even a small and easy-to-introduce measure like this could trigger a host of positive outcomes.

Have you pioneered free fruit at your place of work? What were the impacts? Why do you think Britain is suffering from a productivity slump? Have your say below.

By Peter Unitt