3 reasons to improve staff nutrition

Better nutrition leads to better overall health and better quality of life. That's why you should make a special point to emphasize nutritional importance with not only your patients – but with your staff as well -- in order to operate at your absolute best in your medical practice.

Here are three good reasons to get started, along with practical suggestions that won't cost a lot to implement.

1. Create a happier and more productive staff.
A healthy staff that is practicing good nutritional habits is more energetic, more productive and more pleasant in mood. In the medical industry, you are serving patients all day, often dealing with high-stress situations. Your employees being in a better physical and emotional state will do nothing but improve your medical practice. On the other end, the negative effects poor nutrition brings -- such as lethargy and irritability -- could really hold your practice back from its true potential.

Practical steps

  • Replace morning office snacks like muffins and doughnuts with a combination of fruit, granola or yogurt.
  • Replace sugary and caffeinated sodas with naturally flavored waters or juices. Fruit juices still provide energy and give more nutrients.

2. Practice what you preach.
Most, if not all, health and medical professionals would agree that better nutrition makes you a healthier person and improves your quality of life. Well, if that is what you tell your patients, it should be what you practice in your own life and in the office environment you create.

I have a personal example for this, because I recently had this epiphany for myself and my company, PostcardMania. We have a café area in our office where employees can grab a quick snack or even a full meal. I am a strong believer in organic foods and I won’t go near Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Yet the café in my own office was filled with these items I wouldn’t eat myself. We are now making a change to implement entirely organic menu items in the café, so I am not providing my staff with food items I personally feel are incredibly dangerous. So from a philosophical standpoint, if you are going to promote good nutrition to patients, make sure you are backing that up in your own office.

Practical steps

  • Have a quick meeting to explain the new direction the office is choosing regarding nutrition so that the staff understand the change and can get behind it.
  • Post an announcement for your patients, so they can see that you are "walking the walk," and not just "talking the talk."

3. Growing your own organic produce could save you money.
When I realized the nutritional hypocrisy going on in our office, I started thinking of a plan to fix it. I decided to completely rework the café’s menu. We would build a great big organic garden at my house, which would provide 100 percent organic produce for the café’s new and healthier menu options.

This is just an example of my own personal solution. I understand it may not be feasible for every business, but it’s something to consider, if you are able. Here’s the zinger: Our old menu spent about $80-$100 on the unhealthy GMO produce. With our new organic garden, we can provide our café with great healthy produce for only $70 a week. That’s what it will cost me to maintain it, and will yield $500 annual savings, at minimum. Most people believe eating healthier is more expensive, but this new experiment of ours completely dispels that notion when it comes to stocking your office with great nutritious produce.

Practical steps

  • Look into the cost/benefits of providing fruits, vegetables, and other healthy food options in the break room. You could be surprised. Remember: Not all benefits are monetary (though a happier staff will definitely pay off monetarily over time).
  • Consider partnering with a local health food store to get discounts for your staff.

The key to a happy and productive staff comes down to a basic level of taking care of their bodies with good nutrition. You may not be able to control what they do outside work, but make sure you are creating a nutritious office environment. It will make a big difference in your staff, and could save you money as well. It’s working for us, so give it a try.

Joy Gendusa is the owner and CEO of direct mail marketing firm PostcardMania. She launched PostcardMania in 1998, with nothing but a phone and a computer, never taking a dime of investment capital. The company started as a full-service postcard marketing company helping clients create turn-key marketing campaigns with graphic design, printing, mailing list acquisition and mailing services. Since then, PostcardMania has expanded to offer its clients more services including website and landing page design and development, email marketing and full marketing evaluations — all while continuing to educate clients with free marketing advice. In 2011, PostcardMania reached almost $45 million in annual revenue and the company now employs more than 195 people, prints 4 million and mails 2 million postcards each week, and has more than 53,000 customers in over 350 industries. You may contact the author on Google+.