A Healthier 2013: High-Profile Entrepreneurs Reveal What's in the Fridge From Facebook and Twitter to Etsy and UrbanDaddy, some of the hippest entrepreneurs share their approaches to healthy, productive employees by way of wholesome fare.
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There's never a better time to make positive changes in your business and your lifestyle than at the start of a new year. We're not talking about a two-week commitment to jump on the dusty treadmill in your basement, but rather real long-term changes in the workplace that will help you and your employees be healthier, happier and more productive.
One tactic to keep the crew motivated throughout the day: Offer them some really good food. Many of the country's top organizations know this and keep the office stocked with delicious, wholesome fare. Here are seven tips from Facebook, Twitter and several other high-profile companies for keeping a well-stocked fridge.
1. Balance the scales with a mix of healthy stuff and indulgences. Skullcandy, the Park City, Utah-based headphone maker, stocks a broad selection of nutritious foods, but recognizes that some fun options help keep people happy, says spokesman Leland Drummond. Employees will find everything from hummus and vegetables to burritos and mini pizzas in the company's fridge.
New York City-based DailyCandy tries for balance to offset the influx of sweets sent to its office for potential inclusion in its coveted e-newsletter. So the company gets a FreshDirect delivery of such snacks as garlic hummus, Wheat Thins, nuts and peanut butter, says Meredith Howard, vice president of communications at DailyCandy. Carrot sticks, she says, are office dog Toby's personal favorite.
2. Make employees feel valued by requesting their feedback. Though you may think you're stocking fare that everyone enjoys, you'll never know for sure unless you ask. Not only do you want to make sure you're spending your money on items people will eat, but you also can make employees feel their opinion is valued.
Go Daddy, the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based website domain-name registrar, stocked its fridge and cafeteria after employees asked for a convenient way to grab a bite to eat throughout the day, says Go Daddy spokeswoman Stephanie Bracken. The company asks for continuing feedback in its annual employee survey, with questions like "Would you like to see more healthy options?" and "What new food items would you like to see stocked?" Based on the responses, the company added a daily salad option.
3. Take a team approach to healthier eating. When employees commit to improving their eating habits and working out together, they're held accountable and are more likely to stick to the regimen. At the New York City offices of UrbanDaddy, the authority on what's cool and what's not in the men's luxury lifestyle space, employees often participate as a group in the Fight Diet, a 21-day program that promises speedy weight loss by cutting dairy products, artificial sugar and alcohol, while adding four days of cardio a week into the exercise regime. UrbanDaddy managing editor Paul L. Underwood says employees have also requested the office fridge be stocked with a case of BluePrint Cleanse, a vitamin-packed, raw and organic fruit and vegetable juice cleanse system with varying levels of intensity that can replace meals.
Employees at Chegg, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based student hub, recently set up an email distribution list for the "juice club," says CEO Dan Rosensweig. Each day, someone in the club makes colleagues a nutritious smoothie of their choice. Kale, fruit and flaxseed smoothies are trending in the office right now. Simple activities like this can both strengthen relationships and inspire healthy practices.
4. Make convenience a priority. Facebook provides employees with easily accessible, healthy and delicious eats at no charge all day long, says company spokeswoman Andrea Ragni. This way, people don't have to strategize about where and when they will get their meals and snacks, which can boost productivity and morale. The social network giant's new Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters also offers employees made-to-order caffeinated beverages from Philz Coffee. Epic Cafe and Cafe 18 are also open on campus all day and night.
5. Consider special dietary needs. With more people opting for alternative cuisines, it's important to keep food restrictions in mind when stocking the fridge. At Twitter's San Francisco headquarters, the company strives to accommodate a variety of palates and dietary needs by stocking vegan and gluten-free snack bars and cookies, as well as nuts and dried fruit, says company spokeswoman Karen Wickre. Employees can also enjoy free gourmet lunches in the dining area, where there are plenty of vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and allergy-friendly options.
6. Stay within budget. Although you want to keep the fridge stocked for your employees, it's important to limit your food costs. Don't feel pressure to offer three meals a day, plus snacks and drinks. A great way to stay on budget is to repurpose leftovers from company lunches into yummy snacks. For instance, Etsy, the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based handmade marketplace, provides employees twice weekly with what it calls "Eatsy," a family-style, locally sourced meal prepared by nearby restaurants, says Katie Crosswhite, Etsy's office manager and Eatsy coordinator. Staffers later can find leftovers from those lunches to snack on throughout the day. In the fridge recently: broccoli-cheese knishes, corned beef, homemade pickles, onion rolls, and lots of Russian dressing from a recent deli-inspired meal.