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Food in the Office Part 2 - Why?

September 6, 2010

Note: Learn more about the Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating program here or at www.amihungry.com.

 

In my last Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating class, we were talking about different triggers for eating. Some are physical (thirst, fatigue, etc.), some are emotional (I think most people can guess what those are!), and some are environmental (holidays, associations with activities like popcorn with movies, etc.).

When we got to the environmental triggers, I raised my hand and talked about the ridiculous amounts of food in the office. Then the facilitator asked me a very interesting question. “Why is it that you think they provide all this food?”

I’d thought a little about that in the back of my mind over the years, but this really made me sit down and consider. What, in fact, is the point of all of this? I don’t think they really want us to have heart conditions, or develop diabetes, because then our insurance premiums would go up. So there must be something else to it, but what?

After a moment I realized what it was. “It’s their way of trying to keep morale up. If they give us all this tasty food at the office, maybe we won’t feel so badly about being there.”

This isn’t just my opinion, either; I know it for a simple fact. Our office manager (slash benefits coordinator slash receptionist slash travel manager) will occasionally make cookies in the little toaster oven, and the last time she did it, I talked to her a little about it. “I wanted to do something to give people a little pick-me-up,” she said. “I know things are really hard right now, and this seemed to help.”

Of course it helped – how can your mood not improve if you want down the hallway and smell fresh-baked cookies? But it’s terribly sad at the same time. If things are bad enough that we have to give ourselves sugar highs to get through the day, that doesn’t speak very well for the company in general.

And as with all food remedies, this one is, in the words of the Muppet Beeker, “Sadly temporary.” Eventually the cookies are eaten, and the smell fades, and we’re left back where we started, except with a sugar crash to cope with as well. So while I appreciate that our office manager genuinely cares about wanting the people in the office to feel better, there might be better ways of doing it.

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