Can the Office Vending Machine Affect Work Performance?
Americans live fast-paced lives, seemingly always on the go.
From school and sports activities to work deadlines, and even squeezing in time with friends and family, people often don’t stop and think about how to fuel their bodies. Even amidst our busy lives, it’s hard to miss the highways that are inundated with restaurants.
Many people rely on fast-food meals or subs with a bag of chips for a meal. Office workers know the pain of heading to the vending machine in the breakroom out of convenience.
You don’t have time to make your lunch for work, so you buy it.
What effect does all this unhealthy, processed food have on our bodies? Could it even have an effect on your work performance?
First, how do you respond to hunger? Many can become easily distracted from their work and find it difficult to concentrate on the task at hand. Others deal with the lack of food by becoming short-tempered with clients and co-workers. How could hunger pangs cause this response?
Did you know that your gut and brain are intricately connected?
Your stomach dictates to your brain when you’re hungry; your digestive tract sends signals to your mind that your body needs more fuel to keep going. Also, according to Harvard Health, the brain and digestive system have a language that is unique only to themselves.
Emotions can have a negative and positive effect on your gut, and vice versa. It’s important to listen to your body and feed it with foods that fuel it with efficiency. That means healthy fats, healthy carbs (yes, they exist), and healthy proteins.
When you eat from vending machines and fast-food restaurants, you’re not getting proper nutrition, even if you opt for the salad. So, how does this kind of eating affect your work performance?
Poor nutrition can affect you a few ways.
The first thing you may notice is in levels of concentration, as you lack focus for the tasks at hand. Alternatively, if you ate a meal that was high in sugar, you may feel energetic for a while, then sluggish within an hour after eating lunch.
Feeling tired is one of the main reasons why employees cannot concentrate on their jobs. Sluggishness drains you physically, as well as mentally because your brain is fighting to stay engaged in your work, causing you to be less productive.
Secondly, eating high-fat, high-sugar meals affect your demeanor.
You may find that because you’re having difficulty focusing on work, that you’re getting frustrated and moody. You may see yourself becoming short-tempered with co-workers and clients. This is not good for business, so it’s best to eat a balanced meal with healthy carbs, such as apples, sweet potatoes, bananas, or quinoa with quality protein.
Usually, by the time the brain receives the message that you’re hungry, you’re not only hungry but famished and in a jam to eat something quick. So, how can employers help keep their employees from making a bad vending machine purchase, which then affects their work performance?
Encourage your staff to eat frequently throughout the day. Rather than a vending machine aided meal at their desk, allow for a proper lunch break. Not only will they have more time for a quality meal, but are able to recharge for the rest of their work day.
Another thing that you could do as an employer is provide a variety of nuts, cans of tuna or chicken and fresh fruit in the breakroom. Hot, yet fast, breakfast cereals, like quinoa cereal and steel-cut oats also create simple yet healthy options for your team. Many business also introduce wellness programs to create a healthy atmosphere throughout the office.
When your colleagues know they have options, they are more likely to make healthier choices. Those healthy choices trickle down for a better chance at a productive workday. These options will be in the back of their minds, making it easier to plan ahead before hunger strikes.
Eating small meals, as well as making healthy choices during your workday not only reduces hunger pangs, but increases your productivity. With the right fuel, employees have more consistent energy for work.
Do you have any other questions about improving health at your business? Passport Health can help! Call us at and speak to a health representative or fill out a contact form.
Written for Passport Health by Sabrina Cortes. Sabrina is a freelance writer with a Bachelor’s Degree from Georgian Court University. She currently lives in the Smokey Mountains of western North Carolina.