When it comes time to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and other milestones, there’s nothing quite like cake, but a new toolkit issued recently by Business in the Community and Public Health England is recommending that UK employers seek healthier alternatives for celebrations in the workplace. The Independent highlighted the toolkit’s recommendations earlier this month:
“Employers have a responsibility to provide safe workplaces that do not damage an employee’s health and environments that support healthier lifestyle choices,” the guide reads. “Healthy employees drive a healthy business.” … Instead of bringing in treats with a high sugar content, the guide proposes offering free fruit and vegetables around the workplace for people to take at their leisure.
Public Health England has calculated that the cost of an unhealthy workforce costs the UK taxpayer more than £60bn a year, which is why it is crucial that employers take better care of the health of the individuals in their workforce.
The organizations’ suggestions caused some controversy after some media outlets erroneously reported that Public Health England had banned cake in the workplace (it hasn’t). This is not the first time UK employers have been urged not to let them eat cake, as it were: Last year, the Faculty of Dental Surgery warned that the abundance of sweets in the workplace could be hurting productivity, along with employees’ physical and dental health. As People Management‘s Georgi Gyton reported at the time, office cultures that encourage unhealthy snacking could be having a negative impact on employee wellbeing at the precise moment employers are being called upon to do more to promote it: