I recently came across a string on a forum for veterinary professionals about a practice manager that had instituted a “no bad food” policy in her clinic. In fact, she was actually throwing away junk food that she found in the common eating area. Going a little far I think, but this practice manager’s idea isn’t new or crazy (despite what the people on the forum said). In fact, a lot of companies institute similar practices under the flag of “wellness.”
While I think we would all say we were pro-healthy eating, the question is – is it your job to govern food choices for your employees? On the yes side many trade magazines say that healthy employees are happier and more productive and that by providing only healthy eating options, you are helping them change bad habits. Oh yes, changing the world one cookie at a time.
Take our clinic for example. Our doctors work 12 hour shifts. They undoubtedly feel better eating an apple at hour 9 than a candy bar. But, isn’t that their decision? I say it is. Last time I checked, all my employees were adults and I feel strongly I should treat them as such. I also have a lot better things to do with my time than trying to force feed my employees carrots. Spending your time on minutia like this is a terrible message to send to a clinic staff. Is this what you are doing in your office all day? On a side note: you should never be sitting in your office all day, but that’s another blog.
A better method? Try providing incentives for good eating habits and information on how healthy choices make for better moods, higher energy, etc. I am a firm believer that if someone wants to make a change, they will. On their own. When they want to. Remember managers are not parents.
Creating a “food policy” also reinforces the idea that policies are for suckers. Your employees will be offering free beers to whoever can figure out the most effective way around this crap faster than you can throw away everyone’s cookies.
To the frustrated employee who posted the question in the first place. I would try talking with my manager privately about why her current kitchen nazi regime isn’t working. But she is the manager. Her practice, her rules. If that doesn’t work, I would bring my cookies in a lunch bag for myself that way they don’t get thrown away during the daily sweeps of the common food areas.
And free beers to whoever can find a good hiding place in the common area for marshmallows. . .