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Smoking and Drinking - Encourage One But Not the Other

13 March 2017 | Updated 01 January 1970

March 13 marked the start of Nutrition and Hydration Week - March 13-19. This yearly awareness campaign aims to highlight and promote improvements in the provision of nutrition and hydration locally, nationally and globally, both at home and in the workplace.

To mark the campaign, change management workplace consultants at Advanced Workplace Associates (AWA) are encouraging employees and employers alike to consider how hydration and nutrition has an impact on our ability to think and function.

 A collection of studies, solely looking at causal relations between factors and effects, has revealed that the provision of food and drink can affect cognitive performance. Malnutrition impacts many brain functions, including information processing and memory. Not drinking enough impacts the brain as well as the body – memory, decision-making and attention are all affected by dehydration.

Andrew Mawson of AWA suggests that in order to get the best out of people and to tap into the factors that influence cognitive performance, business leaders need to consider the role of facilities and the workspace. He said: “This research is about creating the right conditions for people’s cognitive performance to be at its very best and this work will have the greatest impact in knowledge-based organisations. If everyone within an organisation worked at their very best, then the impact on an organisation’s productivity and bottom line would be enormous.”


National No Smoking Day

No Smoking Day fell on March 8. Once, one of the 'Days' that didn't get missed, this year, it attracted little publicity. However, resources are still available on the campaign website designed to help those who want to quit reduce or stop smoking altogether and raise awareness of support resources available.

The campaign is supported by NHS, and many employers, and has run since 1983, originally on Ash Wednesday as Quit for the Day.


How can we support colleagues to give up?

If you are an employer, a great place to start is with a policy on smoking, as this makes your stance and attitude clear to employees. You may also want to consider:

  • What support you’ll give to employees who want to quit.
  • Whether workplace factors are contributing to your employees smoking, eg role models, culture, deadlines and exposure to stress and health and safety risk.
  • Putting in place campaigns and tools to help employees manage their environment and stress in a healthy way.
  • Building health and wellness into your reward and engagement strategy.

Whilst employers can encourage healthy behavioural change, the choice is always ultimately with the individual. Equipping your managers with the ability to listen and take a 'whole-life' approach can create a culture where employees have the confidence to share what may be causing them stress both inside and outside of work, so that any plan by the employee to reduce harmful behaviour such as smoking can be supported.

Picture: Hydration is really important to productivity of staff

Article written by Cathryn Ellis | Published 13 March 2017


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