Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Should Your Boss Be the Boss of Your Diet?

It begins with a desire for celebration, a way to break up the monotony of the day-to-day drudgery and to allow for the humanity of socialization to peek its weary head into a day at work. Someone decides to bring food to share among coworkers!

Either for a meeting or for some event (boss' birthday, perhaps?), it's wonderful to have such a break from the norm, it feels like on these days you will actually have something great to talk about when your significant other asks that same dreaded question, "How was work today?"

But what if your job didn't allow for a no-holds-barred approach to the sweet life of office celebration? What if there was no more CAKE?

Yesterday, the New York City Department of Health moved their office to Long Island City, and with the move, they got some new guidelines about operation in their new home. Along with rules about eavesdropping, cubicle decor, personal hygiene, cell phone rings tones and other possibly disruptive sounds, there are rules for what types of food will be acceptable in the office. Here are the DOH Nutrition Standard on What to Serve for meetings and events in their new office as per the new "Guidelines for Life In Cubicle Village":
Doh Nutrition Standards 11

So... exhale... cake is still there, but only if it is a "celebration cake"! There are rules about what drinks can and can not be provided and what portion sizes should look like. There are these sections of "DO NOT SERVE" for breakfast and lunch menus that had a lot of people talking here in NYC.

Forbidden Foods:
  • sugar-sweetened beverages with more than 25 calories per 8 ounces
  • any juice other than 100% fruit juice (breakfast)
  • dips high in saturated fats such as cheese, sour cream or ranch (lunch)
  • high calorie fried snacks such as french fries, chips or fried chicken (lunch)
  • cake, doughnuts, pastries or sweet buns (breakfast)
I wondered what Billy Cosby would think of this "no cake for breakfast" rule...

And then I wondered how I would feel about all these rules if I worked at the Department of Health, since everyone else was chiming in on it.

My Thoughts

The office in question here is the Department of Health, if I worked in that office, then I believe in promoting good health throughout the city of New York. I do believe it is part of my job (especially during work hours) to represent that claim. It is simple: the employees at The Gap come to work everyday wearing clothing from The Gap, Banana Republic or Old Navy (all owned by the same company). Do they wear this Gap clothing 24/7? Probably not, but while at work, they are expected to represent their brand. Why shouldn't the New York City Department of HEALTH do the same thing?

What are your thoughts?
Does your office have a similar policy? (Do you wish they did/didn't?)

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