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If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, could the same be true of employees? Cook Well, Work Well believes just that.

If employees eat healthily, they are less likely to take time off sick and do more while at work.

That’s the basic fact that underpins the Cook Well, Work Well scheme, which brings a mobile kitchen into workplaces and teaches employees how to select healthy ingredients and then cook a simple meal from them.

“Most full-time employees spend a third of their hours at work, so the workplace is the perfect setting to promote the health benefits of cooking your own food,” Maggie Sims, head of Let’s Get Cooking, explains in February's InsideOut - the free magazine for IoIC members.

“Best of all, three months after attending a Cook Well, Work Well session three-quarters of staff are still choosing healthy foods more often. Staff also say they feel more energetic and more able to concentrate.”

Let’s Get Cooking is the Children’s Food Trust’s cookery programme, which runs 5,000 cooking clubs based in schools in England. But Let’s Get Cooking now extends to adults and has worked with organisations including PepsiCo, British Gas, hospital trusts and Unionlearn.

“Lots of people are daunted - they think cooking healthy food can be really expensive and time-consuming,” says Maggie. “This attitude is everywhere. Even in high-income families they’re likely to buy ready-meals, possibly because of time constraints or just because it’s easy.

“But actually cooking is quick, easy and fun. It can also be healthier and there are other benefits – it brings the family together, and it opens up communication between parents and children.”

There are also specific benefits for employers. Evaluation of Cook Well, Work Well shows that it improves the nutritional knowledge, eating habits and general well-being of the people who attended. These long-term health benefits to staff contribute to a reduction in absentee rates and an increase in productivity.

You can read the full feature about Let's Get Cooking in February's InsideOut, which includes statistics on how healthy eating can affect workforces and case studies on how employees at Pepsico have changed their ways since taking part.

Also in this month's issue, 'thought provocateur' Dean Van Leeuwen previews his presentation at this year's IoIc Live (April 30-May 1 in Brighton) in whch he will warn communicators to ignore the generation gap among employees at their peril - he compares how 'Baby Boomers', 'Generation X' and 'Millenials' differ in their comms needs.

In addition, InsideOut looks at how 'salary transparency' could boost engagement, offers seven reasons to use drawing in comms, and Declan Lyons explains why internal communicators should be helping to shape an organisation's strategy rather than just passing on the details to workers. To round things off, February's 'Sector Spotlight' focuses on the public sector, or more specifically Liz Fisher at Buckinghamshire County Council.

It's all in February's InsideOut, the monthly magazine that’s free to IoIC members. Just log in at the top right of this screen and you’ll find InsideOut in ‘IoIC Knows’ – simply click on ‘Publications’ in the drop-down menu.
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