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August 2, 2013

Research reveals that fruit at work boosts productivity, energy and wellbeing

Providing fresh fruit at people's desks increases employee's productivity by more than 10 per cent, substantially boosts their energy levels and encourages them to adopt a healthier lifestyle. That's the conclusion of empirical research conducted by the UK's original workplace fruit supplier, Fruitful Office.

Over three-quarters of the 320 people who took part in the research said the provision of free fruit made them feel more valued and more than 80 per cent thought having fresh fruit available at their desk had improved their quality of life at work.

It also changed their eating habits. Seventy per cent said they were eating more fruit; 45 per cent were eating fewer "unhealthy" snacks and 13 per cent were choosing healthier options at lunch.

Almost 80 per cent of those that are the free fruit said they felt more healthy, with just under half reporting higher energy levels and just over a third claiming the fruit made them feel more alert.

Watch a video of the research in action at:

The research

Fruitful Office teamed up with the Ethical Property Company to conduct a workplace trial in order to measure the impact fresh fruit has on the lives of office workers. Ethical Property owns 15 centres across the UK (a total of 161,000 sq ft) providing office, event and retail space to charities, social enterprises, voluntary and campaign groups. The trial took place at their largest centre, Development House, in the City of London, between 18 June and 17 July 2013.

The building provides office space over seven floors for more than 20 organisations with a particular focus on international development issues. In total some 320 people work in the building. Fruitful Office delivered 216 baskets during the trial, containing seven varieties of fruit, with the 1,584 bananas being the fruit of choice. The baskets were placed on desks, filing cabinets and window ledges to ensure they were always within easy reach.

The building's residents were asked to complete a pre-trial and post-trial survey

to monitor the change in attitude, perception and outlook on both their productivity and their working environment, together with questions about their eating habits. "We thought this would be a great idea. Tenants in our building can be incredibly busy and may not be able to take time to ensure they purchase a healthy lunch and snacks. Having fruit on site, and within easy reach, will really help with this," says office manager, Edith Allan.

"Our staff and tenants thought it was a nice and healthy gesture on behalf of Ethical Property. It added to their understanding of our triple bottom line approach to business - we care about the social and environmental impact of our buildings as well as their financial performance. Having a healthy workplace is part of this," added Janine Woodward, the organisation's sales and development manager.

Comments from participants:

"I think that the benefits make it a fantastically worthwhile investment and it helps make a very stressful job more managable - thank you!"

"It was a great idea. I felt valued and flattered by having fresh fruits at my desk. what a treat. I am 24 weeks pregnant and felt it was just right office snack for me and the baby. Thank you!"

"Excellent idea, people at the office drink so much coffee and tea, it is great to include healthy fruits in the mix. Thanks!"

Commenting on the results, Fruitful Office director Vasco de Castro said: "It's been great to work with Ethical Property on the workplace trial. The results shows that in today's hectic working environment, when people don't always manage to eat healthily, the availability of fresh fruit at the desk is really appreciated and can make a real difference to feelings of wellbeing and productivity."

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Research reveals that fruit at work boosts productivity, energy and wellbeing