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Office cake culture: An exploration of its characteristics, associated behaviours and attitudes among UK office workers; implications for workplace health

Louise Walker (University of Chester, Chester, UK)
Orla Flannery (Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK)

International Journal of Workplace Health Management

ISSN: 1753-8351

Article publication date: 16 January 2020

Issue publication date: 16 January 2020

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the characteristics of office cake (OC) consumption and the associated attitudes and behaviours among UK office workers to gain insight into the implications for workplace health.

Design/methodology/approach

A cross-sectional online questionnaire was completed by 940 respondents. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics and cross-tabulation with χ2 tests for between-group difference.

Findings

Respondents reported both positive social and negative health-related consequences of OC. OC influenced eating behaviour through increased salience and availability, and the effects of social influencing. Almost all (94.8 per cent) reported ideal OC frequency to be once/week or less. Gender and age significantly affected attitudes and behaviour.

Research limitations/implications

The questionnaire was not validated so data accuracy could have been diminished or biased. Portion size was not examined and consumption data were self-reported which could have resulted in under-reporting. Only office workers were investigated therefore results may not be applicable to other workplaces.

Practical implications

OC appears to influence both the workplace eating environment and employee eating behaviour. It could therefore affect employee health and workplace health promotion programme efficacy. However the findings suggest that nudge-based initiatives could reduce OC consumption to make workplaces healthier while retaining social benefits.

Originality/value

The present study provides the first data on OC culture and insights on how to address it sensitively. It also highlights that sweet treats used for celebration and employee recognition should be considered a relevant part of workplace food provision alongside canteens and vending.

Keywords

Citation

Walker, L. and Flannery, O. (2020), "Office cake culture: An exploration of its characteristics, associated behaviours and attitudes among UK office workers; implications for workplace health", International Journal of Workplace Health Management, Vol. 13 No. 1, pp. 95-115. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJWHM-03-2019-0039

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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