Gone are the days of lifelong employment. Today, ‘the average person changes jobs 10-15 times during his or her career’ (The Balance). At any one time, a staggering 25% of employed people are looking for a new role (Employee Outlook Survey). This job-hopping culture can cost businesses dearly. Taking recruitment, training, salary, bonuses, national insurance and pension costs into consideration, a company can look to spend an average of £53,241 per new hire (The Undercover Recruiter). So what are employers doing to buck the trend and keep employees?
One of the perks employers have introduced to keep employees sweet is cake. Cake on your birthday, cake at the end of meetings, cake to celebrate a job well done, employers are pandering to our love of sweet treats and it’s working.
The Benefits of Cake in the Workplace
Office cake culture has been repeatedly demonised in the press, with some health experts calling for its eradication (BBC). However, cake isn’t the monster it’s portrayed to be.
If you’re trying to shift some weight, an afternoon spent baking could help! From 80cals kneading dough to 300cals squatting in front of the oven, baking burns calories. Fitness expert and personal trainer, Laura Williams, explains in The Great British Bake Off workout.
Sugar and carbohydrates were enjoyed by some of history’s greats. Sugar, a firm favourite of novelist, David Foster Wallace, makes us feel good through releasing endorphins while Einstein’s cherished carbohydrate provide us with an energy boost!
After GBBO series 3 winner, John Whaite, bravely spoke out about how baking had helped him battle depression, bakeries have popped up all over the country offering courses to support thousands of others suffering from depression (The Independent).
According to research, UK office workers’ attitude towards cake is, on the whole, positive, with 81% saying it brings people together and 83% saying it cheers people up.
Is Cake Culture to Blame for Office Obesity?
Britain is dubbed ‘the fat man of Europe’ and 29% of the nation’s professionals blame their work (The HR Director). But is office cake culture the sole culprit? What can employers do to reduce obesity in the office without cutting out cake?
‘There were 488,000 cases of work related stress, depression or anxiety last year in the UK which equates to roughly 1.5 British workers out of every 100’ (Wales Online). But what happens when you get stressed? In the first study of its kind, scientists have revealed how stress is linked to weight gain (The Independent). The study, conducted by University College London, found that the participants with the high levels of cortisol (the most stressed) had the highest BMI and waist circumference. To reduce stress in the workplace, try setting clear goals, offering a flexible working environment and discouraging multi-tasking.
More than 10 million of us work in offices, sitting at desks for an average of 7 hours each weekday. It is, therefore, not surprising that this sedentary working lifestyle is causing us to pile on the pounds. To combat this, encourage employees to take regular breaks, introduce walking meetings or invest in an office dog (they won’t walk themselves).
How to Have your Cake and Eat it
Self restraint isn’t always a piece of cake, especially when the glutton inside of us is urging us to eat more and more. So, to make portion control easier, do away with the temptation by choosing to eat a miniature dessert or cupcake.
The average slice of cake contains around 450 calories (for an accurate calorie run down of some of Britain’s favourite cakes check out the good cake guide). For a woman, that’s almost a quarter of your daily calorie allowance. To enjoy a slice of sponge without the guilt, try substituting some of the ingredients for healthier alternatives. Here’s a few starters for 10: