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A Tale of Two…Vending Machines?

I have my offices in a modest sized office building. I admit that there are times when my work-life balance gets a little out-of-balance and I will realize that I am hungry but I don’t have any food in the office. There are vending machines in the lobby of the office building, with the usual assortment of chips and candy bars.

So I find myself asking, “How hungry am I? Do I really want the empty calories and the quick burst of energy followed by the inevitable tiredness that comes from eating this kind of food?”

I am not an angel, and so I sometimes find myself taking a brief break. My hunger is reduced. I get the energy and the tired dip 30 minutes later, and I have a few more calories that I will need work off or watch grow at my waistline. I never feel good about needing to make this decision.

One of the winners of the Wisconsin Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards thought about this problem for their employees. Highsmith, Inc., also one of the American Psychological Association's 2006 Best Practices Honorees, wanted to improve the health of their employees and embarked on an aggressive program of health risk assessments, nutrition education, and exercise programs at the worksite. Then they took it one more step.

At Highsmith, there are two vending machines, side-by-side, in the cafeteria. One has the traditional foods that are in my building. What I immediately noticed is that the price on these foods was about 25% higher than in my building. Next to it is another vending machine filled with healthy foods. The extra cost for the traditional vending machine is used to subsidize the healthy choices in the other machine.

Employees still have a choice – even more of a choice than I have in my office building. But they also have an incentive to buy healthy food, which is less expensive than chips or a candy bar. What does your workplace do to encourage healthy choices?

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dr. John Weaver published on April 6, 2009 7:43 AM.

Can I Really Attain Work-Life Balance? was the previous entry in this blog.

Is Emotional Intelligence the Holy Grail? is the next entry in this blog.

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