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As if sitting at a desk all day wasn’t bad enough, it’s what we’re doing at those desks that’s really doing for us. Hitting the snacks is creating a sugar-coated iceberg of health challenges. Your bottom is about to impact your bottom line, and not in a good way.
It’s the scourge of the open plan set-up. It’s not the office bore, nor the foghorn colleague, guffawing at their own jokes. It’s the off-putting sights, sounds and smells of some Hungry Horace filling their ‘orrible orifice in the workplace, right in the middle of the morning.
The Daily Express recently picked up on a survey of the nation’s corporate between-meals eating habits. We’re not sure of the methodology, but we think it involved tipping up everyone’s keyboards, and seeing what fell out from between the characters. Sometimes, it didn’t fall. It slithered.
It’s wasn’t a pretty sight. The crumbs don’t lie. There’s precious little evidence of whole-grain bars and yoghurt carelessly consumed at the workstation. It’s much more crisps, bacon rolls, and caustic chemicals masquerading as energy drinks spilling down our collective spacebars.
Around half of British office workers are frequent fillers when it comes to topping up their tummy tanks in the morning. What’s more, they do it without telling their life partners, many of whom are dutifully providing lunch boxes and something called ‘a proper tea’ back home in the evening.
The survey claims that much of the snacking is incognito, though we struggle to see how anyone could keep their morning indulgence clandestine, when the top snack of choice for almost half of survey respondents was the ever-so-slightly aromatic hot bacon roll.
Snacking, or the tea-break as it was called, used to be a regimented affair. It’s about 1955 since the bell on the side of the tea trolley last rang, to pour luke-warm, pre-sugared, full-fat milky sludge from the urn, to refresh the suited ranks of ledger-processing clerks and neatly overalled production-line workers. Despite the almost inflammably high calorific value of the biscuits, the fat cats were generally confined to the boardroom, because, back then, we did something historians call ‘proper work’. Busy, less mechanised workplaces kept us all mobile and active. Couple that with the recent memory of rationing, and although it was limited, the national diet was much healthier, and lacked almost all the saccharine-sweet processed nonsense we consume today.
This modern-day survey was commissioned by IronmongeryDirect, which also sounds like it comes from 1955. Their findings make for a heart-attack on a plate. The nearest anything healthy came to the nation’s favourites was a catch-all ‘breakfast bar’, toiling like a British Eurovision entry at a distant number eight, behind health-free options like chocolate, sweets, and pastries.
Getting nul points for being a healthy workforce is not music to the ears. While it might not be possible to bring back the tea lady, there’s nothing to stop every workplace from encouraging a spot of healthy eating. While Springfords don’t actually have an in-house nutritionist, that doesn’t stop us thinking about what we snack upon. There’s nothing stopping you either, and unlike the office foghorn’s jokes, that’s something we can all smile about.