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Small giveaways make large impact

A study published in International Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics gives the phrase “an apple a day” a whole new meaning.  Researchers from Penn State found that organizations offering free fruit such as apples and bananas at lunchtime resulted in a significant reduction in depression and improved confidence at work!

The study was conducted with 290 bus drivers in China; men and women who spend most of their working hours sitting through irregular shifts and mealtimes.  They’re also exposed to unpredictable daily traffic and driving conditions that wear on the body—leading to an overall stressful position!  Researchers made one simple change; for three weeks, on duty drivers received a free piece of fruit in addition to their lunch.  Fruit was chosen because it’s nutritious and likely to be approved by management!  Bus drivers’ confidence, depression and emergency response was surveyed three times – before, during and one week after the experiment concluded.   

As a result, participants reported having lower depression levels after the experiment concluded.  They also showed greater self confidence in their role during the weeks they were getting the additional fruit in their lunch.  Overall, researchers were surprised that a small piece of fruit could have such a large impact on work performance and well-being; considering work conditions, schedules and wages stayed exactly the same! 

Published March 2020

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