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Is the daily fruit basket already occupational health management (OHM)?

Since 2009, § 84 of the German Social Code IX (SGB IX) has made it a legal requirement for employers to take care of their employees’ health. A lot has happened in the meantime. But how widespread are occupational health management measures really? What is actually offered in the companies and does it show measurable success?

Desire and reality

The desire of every company is to have healthy and motivated employees in the company for the long term. The goals are few absences, little to no fluctuation, little headwind from the workforce and ever-growing turnover and further development. This does not happen by itself.

The reality is different: ever-increasing numbers of absences from work due to mental health problems and new working time models that employees are not happy to accept. Frequent fluctuation and little loyalty to the company are unfortunately also the curmudgeonly reality. The reasons for this are the high numbers of skilled workers needed and the difficulty that applicants often no longer want to be measured against or adapt to familiar framework conditions. In addition, there are new social developments, such as part-time models for mothers AND fathers and more leisure time instead of presence in the company (home office).

Simple pragmatic solutions for small and micro enterprises in the field of OHM are in demand. An example:

The daily fruit basket or fruit plate for employees is popular everywhere. This makes sense. Instead of biscuits, chocolate or the popular Bavarian “Leberkässemmel”, a piece of fruit with lots of vitamins, minerals and fibre is an energy supplier of the highest quality. Ready at any time, available to everyone and tasty. The fact that you sometimes have sticky fingers, or that your keyboard or other work tools get damaged by eating at your desk is not important.

But what is the real significance of this fruit basket as an occupational health management measure?

A sensible diet is undoubtedly part of maintaining health and is certainly a simple and sensible measure in the workplace environment.

But what deeper, lasting effect should the fruit plate have? I would like to ask you this question. Is the fruit basket pointless or valuable as an occupational health management measure? The fruit plate merely soothes the conscience of those responsible for occupational health management to a small degree. Or is there more to it than that?

Possibility: Association with an orange

Idea: If I free fruit that needs to be peeled, perhaps even from “ballast” by “peeling” it, it becomes more interesting.

Here is the example of an orange: Peel it slowly and carefully. Then you remove the skin from the individual segments in order to get to the intense fragrance of the fruit. Then you can enjoy the wonderfully refreshing juice and the unbelievable pleasure with the invigorating taste of a full-juiced ripe orange – wonderful. And we continue to utilise it all when we enjoy it accordingly with all our senses. The positive impressions through the sensory experience, the pleasant feeling after the meal, the effect of all significant ingredients and last but not least the stimulation of the digestion – this shows a multiple added value.

Transferred to OHM, this means breaking up or peeling away structures, throwing off ballast, moving forward to what is really good. Whether this means, for example, new working time regulations or an ergonomic reassessment of the workplaces is irrelevant in this case. But adapting the management style to the modern requirements of today’s employees can also be a measure, as well as, for example, an amalgamation of small and micro enterprises in order to make OHM measures possible for the employees in the first place.

Conclusion on OHM

Everything in OHM should have only one goal: To get the BEST out of it and to use it positively for the benefit of the employees and the company.

Or how do you see it? I look forward to your reactions and suggestions.

Sylvia Hohenreiter
Head of Training/Director training Wanner GmbH
Company Health Manager/University of HH
Health Coach/ECA