Around twenty years ago, we rarely saw a cake in the office unless it was to celebrate the end of year results, or the launch of a new product. These days, we’re lucky to get through a week without cake: a birthday in the team, a charity bake-off or just a reward for making it to Friday. And we haven’t even mentioned the tub of biscuits in the kitchen.
Pastries are seen as a way of keeping us going, building a team, and making the workplace more pleasant. But what if they’re undermining our health and our energy?
Recent research shows that 68% of Australians are eating cakes and biscuits daily and that most of this consumption occurs in the workplace. What’s more, the research shows, if you don’t partake of these sugary treats, you’re perceived as not much of a team player, even a bit of a killjoy.
In the UK, the Royal College of Surgeons argued that ‘cake culture’ is fuelling obesity and dental problems.
Yet for many, the sugar hit is a much needed relief from the daily grind. Long hours and stress exhaust us, and refined carbohydrates are just the thing for a dopamine hit, an insulin rush and a moment of physical bliss before the ache of keeping one’s nose to the grindstone returns.
Perhaps a better way to celebrate a birthday is with a shorter day, a walk outside, and the chance to catch up on a bit of sleep. It would make us all feel better, and might even increase productivity.
Or is this a step too far?