Office snacks are often considered to be a fun way to add and regain the energy lost due to sitting at your desk for long hours. However, all these snacks offered in your office usually for free may not be just fun for you. It can be bad for your health provided if you are not selective and judicious about your choice. Though these free goodies may be detrimental to the cleanliness of your desk and keyboard, these are often considered to be a very useful perk by the employees.
These giveaways in an office job stand in for the appealing patina of a full-time employment, and it obscures the soul draining and creativity killing nature of most office jobs. Free snacks provided in any workplace are more than a simple metaphor. In these times when start-up culture proliferates at a fast rate and it has become a prime concern for corporates and offices to strive to ensure that the employees stay and remain happy. However, with the increase in such practice, the kind and quality of the snacks provided in the offices are more of a concern.
Quality and quantity factor
The quality and stock of snack is the unique selling point for all prospective hires and is a bragging right for all current workers. It has also become the one of the sore spot for the less well-fed counterparts.
- Large offices have multiple kitchenettes each of which is fully stocked with high quality snacks including granola bars, yogurt, chips, fresh fruit and veggies. You will also find cold brew coffee and even a seltzer machine.
- The primary objective of providing office snacks is to create a really warm, homely and welcoming atmosphere and therefore a wide variety of snacks for the employees is just a given fact and necessity.
You will find snacks on every floor of an office which is not only comforting for the employees but also results in increased productivity as you will not have to go out to seek food as everything is right there in front of you.
The ongoing debate
Office snacks and its concept have come a long way from the traditional coffee cart. Even though the debate on whether office snacks are just fun snacks or whether it helps to create a better office environment or simply make the keyboards stickier and dirtier, most people feel that office snacking has potential benefits and ability to better the health and even performance of a worker.
- According to a 2011 study, frequent snacking did not correlate with its benefits and the mental health of the worker with cognitive performance. On the other hand, it did not even correlate with the negative outcomes.
- There was another study conducted that found that mid-afternoon snacks can help in improving memory but it certainly did not improve attention of the worker as reliably as wanted.
- Add to all these, the studies were also considered by different nutritional foundations that found that despite the scientific interest in snacking, there is a noticeable deficit of consistency in the design and definition of office snacking.
All these debates and disagreements lead to a series of potential confounding factors such as the physical activity levels that made the interpretations of these findings more difficult. Perhaps it is for this reason there is a need for a more pertinent line of scientific research that will involve why and how people eat at work.
It is only then you will be able to understand that it is hard to avoid eating food when it is made available readily even for a rational adult.
The self-control factor
It is found that in most of the cases the employees do not even register fully that they are eating office goodies. This is because these are free and are so convenient to access. Therefore, when it comes to office snacking, most of the employees are especially bad at self-control and apart from that also come to know how bad they actually are at self-control.
Regardless of their age, employees tend to eat goodies that are clearly visible and close to their proximity. If the degree of proximity is altered in distance as well as in height, rate of consumption is significantly reduced no matter how fun it is to have these office snacks.
Therefore, it can be said that the tendency to eat more depends on the quantitative misperception. Employers underestimate their consumption when these snacks are easily accessible and when these are farther away they then estimate how much they over consumed.
Studies on the fun factor
According to the International Journal of Obesity and their findings, having office snacks is not at all fun and can have serious effect on health and your lifestyle. It says that in most of the cases employers think that the snacks available are ‘needed’ by them.
- Other studies show that people often feel hungry when there are learned environmental cues even though their bodies do not need it and can do without it. Research suggests that snacking can be a conditioned response to the external stimuli rather than simply a natural and internal response to the energy deficits. These studies have showed that the habit is a strong predictor of unhealthy snacking. However, there is no evidence found whether such habit indicates causation or correlation.
- Once a person is used to treating in unhealthy snacks, the habit factor comes into effect to predict whether the person will keep on snacking even after the best and most conscious intentions to change their snacking ways.
That means in other words that you will grow accustomed to have snacks if they are nearby and eat more of them even after your best effort not to. This is when the fun aspect becomes bad for you resulting in obesity which in turn results in bad health and deteriorated performance. There is no scientific explanation required that snacks can lift your mood but the fun thing is that it can lift your blood sugar level as well.