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How many of you reading this have experienced that afternoon slump of energy after lunch?  You feel lethargic, tired and it’s incredibly difficult to concentrate.  Now multiply that feeling by the number of employees in your organisation.  Could low energy be destroying productivity?

I recently delivered a batch of employee health checks to an organisation in Leeds, one of their departments of around 10 employees were drinking rounds of coffee, relying on quick fix forms of energy, drinking very little water and were largely sedentary.  When asked what their daily energy levels were on a scale of 1-5 (1 = Very Low & 5 = Excellent) they all answered 2 or 3.

One of the main contributors to day time energy is our blood sugar levels.  Our blood sugar or blood glucose levels will rise and fall all day long but they will ideally remain within the normal limits.  A hearty bowl of porridge for example will provide us with a steady release of energy throughout the morning while a bowl of sugary cereal will raise a glucose levels much faster.  This triggers the production of insulin which in-turn lowers blood sugar rapidly, leaving you feeling lethargic, hungry and on the hunt for more energy.

When you feel lethargic are you going to crave a bowl of porridge?  No chance!!!  You’re going to fuel up with whatever you can get your hands on.  What’s usually readily available when we’re hungry?  Snacks that are high in sugar.  We consume these we get yet another glucose spike and yet another batch insulin.  The cycle goes on and on and on . . . .

Quick Fix  →  Rise In Blood Glucose  →   Rise In Insulin  →   Drop In Blood Sugar  →  Feel Lethargic →  Another Quick Fix  & Repeat!!!

So, the big question is … How can an organisation support staff to fuel themselves to stay energised and productive?

Here’s my top tips:

Expectations
Many employees feel that they need to be seen to be working and therefore compromise their rest time.  This often results in missed lunches and an increase in quick fix energy.  Let your people know that you expect them to stop, eat and re-energise!

Facilitate
How accessible is good quality food?  Many of the organisations I have worked with are SME’s with no kitchen or local amenities.  So unless the staff plan, prep and bring food with them it’s off to the burger van or vending machine.  Could you connect with a catering company who take orders and deliver?  Could you provide free fruit and water?

Hydration
One of the easiest ways to improve employee energy levels is to increase hydration levels.  This can be done through a simple hydration challenge, free water bottles or even strategically located pee charts.

Movement
One of the greatest energy sappers is being sedentary.  Encourage your people to get out of their seats and move every so often.  not only will this energise them but it will also help lower cases of back pain.

Information
Educate your teams on the elements of wellbeing.  This could be through workshops, seminars, blogs, newsletters and posters.

Engage, Inspire & Create Positive Change – UK Wellbeing Coach