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Working Late? Think Twice Before You Order Dinner

Healthy-eatingIt is no secret that CPAs have been working longer hours since busy season started. Moreover, you will probably continue to do so for a few more weeks. In order to keep up the pace, you should take time to refuel, both mentally and physically. Unfortunately, skipping meals or opting for delivery often becomes the norm.

According to a recent Seamless Brain Food Survey, the first quarter of every year is a peak time for corporate food orders at accounting firms where 4 p.m. orders are 4.5 times higher than in the second and third quarters. Office food orders are on the rise as well – suggesting that CPAs are working longer hours due to increased client demands and increased complexity of tax laws and regulations. . In fact, food orders at accounting firms in 2014 are already 17 times higher than normal. 

Ordering food at the office is often an afterthought or becomes too complicated when attempting to get everyone’s buy in. Respondents to Seamless’s survey overwhelming said that the food’s popularity was the deciding factor when asked what factors go into ordering food for meetings and other work scenarios. Here’s the breakout:
  • Popularity: 80%
  • Easy to get: 70%
  • Easy to eat: 65%
  • Price: 65%

You’ll notice that “healthy options” isn’t on the list. In fact, there seems to be a general disconnect between knowledge about healthy eating habits and actual workplace eating habits. Generally, employers tend to order carb-heavy foods for work functions: bagels for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch (along with the inevitable accompanying cookie) and pizza for late nights. We tend to forget that carb heavy foods can set us up for an unproductive day, filled with post-meal sugar crashes.

As it turns out, the majority of employees actually want healthier options. Seventy-four percent of survey respondents admitted that they sometimes eat whatever is put in front them at work. However, 77 percent would eat foods that contributed to a positive impact on their mental and physical sharpness and productivity if offered. That is a real opportunity for employers.

Let’s face it, seeing a table full of pizza, cookies and other treats certainly can boost mental morale. Imagine the expression on your employees’ faces if you put out a spread of kale, spinach and kombucha. That is not likely to go over too well. However, a healthier mix might just do the trick. It allows employees to refuel, break the meal skipping cycle and perhaps even be appreciative of the fact that their employer is thinking of their well-being. This might just be a win-win.

If the choice is not eating at all or eating a bagel, I would suggest the bagel. Sixty percent of business professionals admitted feeling less productive, moody and had a hard time concentrating when they skipped lunch or breakfast. Yet, they also admitted that meal skipping happens frequently – especially in the first two quarters of the year (tax time). In fact, 30 percent of respondents frequently skipped breakfast and 40 percent frequently skipped lunch due to heavy workloads.

Given the added hours and stress during busy season, your body needs that nutritional boost that comes from the right choices. So stop skipping meals and choose a healthy alternative to the carb heavy options.

, Communications Manager, American Institute of CPAs.

Healthy food image via Shutterstock


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