Workplace health is no piece of cake, but rethinking office cake offers employers an opportunity
Lou conducted the first academic research into office cake culture as part of her Masters in Obesity and Weight Management at the University of Chester. The study surveyed almost 1000 UK office workers and was published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management in January 2020. Here are some of the key findings:
- Office cake culture changes employee eating habits and the physical workplace environment so could increase health risk and reduce effectiveness of workplace health promotion programmes
- If cake is available, people eat it. 36% never refuse it
- 31% said office cake had led to weight gain; 38% said it made it harder to eat healthily at work
- 95% of respondents said the ideal frequency for office cake was once a week or less; 41% said once a month
- Opinion and behaviour related to office cake is statistically significantly influenced by age and gender
- People value the social, morale-boosting effects of office cake but recognise negative consequences such as weight gain, difficulty eating healthily at work and difficulty sticking to a diet.
Among other things, these data suggest it is feasible to rethink office cake to achieve a healthier, more productive balance between the social benefits and health risks without anyone feeling deprived.