8:30 am – 5:30 pm
Reception and dinner from 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
8:30 am – 1:00 pm
Two topics that have long preoccupied leaders advancing worksite health and well-being initiatives are nutrition and stress. More specifically, with three out of four workers being overweight or obese, our food supply and our eating habits have been intractable burdens on employer health spending and workforce productivity. And is it more than a coincidence that three out of four employees also sometimes or very often experience burn-out on the job? That organizational performance will be impeded by stress also seems inescapable given well established research showing the connections between burnout, absenteeism, presenteeism and employee turnover rates. Conferences hosted by psychological associations can and do focus on stress management issues for weeks every year, and professional nutritionists also can attend fulsome conferences dedicated to battling obesity and the many attendant chronic conditions.
Food and Stress. These subjects are too large to presume a HERO Think Tank could yield fresh insights regarding workplace-based solutions to each. But what if we put eating and burnout side by side and ask how closely the two are related? What’s more, what if we challenge ourselves to consider that comfort foods and work pressures each reside in the shadow of the other? Indeed, what if we posit that we can’t solve for one without also shining a light on the other? Now, we think, we have the stuff of a good HERO Think Tank. This Think Tank is designed to challenge HERO members to consider stress eating holistically. We will ask how policies, programs and environmental supports can be designed to reduce obesity and burnout together. Moreover, we aim to use story-telling and sustained dialogue principles to ensure that we are generating altogether novel approaches to abating stress and maladaptive eating simultaneously.
What’s Eating Us at Work? Questions we plan to address include:
- How are healthy eating policies and behavioral economic “nudges” perceived by employees? Do stressed employees feel differently than less stressed employees about food at work?
- In your nutrition education or weight management programs, how is burnout addressed? Do you have data indicating whether overweight employees have differential rates of burnout?
- Has food policy been included as part of employee resiliency and stress management efforts? If so, how so? If not, why not?
- Will workplace food policies be more accepted by employees when tied to issues of job satisfaction and environmental sustainability than to the usual health improvement rationale?
- Is food insecurity a source of stress at your workplace? How is food insecurity assessed and addressed?
- How are your organizational leaders modeling resiliency? Are their eating habits publicly noticed? Should they be?
- Is food used as a reward for achievement at your workplace? Are long work hours assumed to be associated with achievement? Do the two interrelate intentionally or unintentionally?
- Does your organization have policies and practices related to environmental sustainability? Is your food service identified in your policies?
- When policies or programs relating to mental health, depression or addiction are discussed, is food policy included? If so, how so? If not, why not?
In HERO’s usual Think Tank fashion, we will engage with subject experts with a point of view on integrated solutions AND we will turn to HERO members and special guests to share examples, generate ideas and propose solutions. We will, of course, be sure the Think Tank food is healthy and that eustress (the good kind) is spurring us toward better ways to supporting employee well-being.