Connecting together through food

26 May 2021
by Emma Lanza

An engaging and informative morning for staff to connect with one another. 


BDA Work Ready partnered with Let’s Get Cooking and Wellbeing at Work Collaborative to deliver an engaging department away day for University College London’s ‘Being Well at UCL’ community initiative. 

A Dietitian, a Physiotherapist and Wellbeing practitioners came together to deliver a virtual interactive away day to over 200 staff surrounding wellbeing at work. 

Staff had access to resources, tips and recipes before the event via Work Ready’s online dashboard to prepare themselves for the day, gathering ingredients, setting up kitchen space, or finding a quiet spot to learn and engage in being mindful.

Staff signed up in 2 groups attending one of the physical mental wellbeing workshops and then swapping over to join in on their chosen Cookalong .

‘The Work Ready team were very flexible and worked with our department to understand our needs to create a tailored programme for the Virtual Away Day. The facilitators were all engaging, knowledgeable and were able to give staff a better understanding of their wellbeing. The Cookalong sessions were really enjoyable, easy to follow and allowed staff to come away with a number of brilliant techniques including how to include the whole family’. 

UCL Team

The Physical and Mental Wellbeing for Home Workers session delivered by Wellbeing at Work Collaborative explored how the current pandemic presents huge challenges with changes to routines and lifestyles. 

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It included:

Physical health and exercise: ergonomic workspaces, posture and exercise to help manage back and neck pain.

Diet and Nutrition : the role in supporting immunity, mood and productivity.

Building resilience and managing stress: introducing mindfulness, how to incorporate it into everyday activities (such as mindful eating) and some guided meditation.

98% found the sessions useful to support their wellbeing

Attendees shared with us what they had learned and what they were going to implement into their working days: 

  • I do try and get up from my desk frequently but I will be more mindful of it so that my brain actually registers I’m taking a break. Also being more wary of posture
  • More conscious of my routine or lack there of. Listening to my body to what i can do to support my mental health 
  • Taking  vitamin  D supplements with fat
  • For starters, some of the desk-based stretches to avoid getting so stiff.
  • To think about some more quick and healthy food options.

The Cookalong had the options of learning top noodles or omelette popovers for lunch. Anabelle O’Toole from Let’s Get Cooking led the demonstration whilst Staff joined in, cooking along with one another.

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Even those who did not cook along were facilitated in the chat to share cooking tips and tricks and ask questions.  Staff were encouraged to share their earliest memories around food, a lovely way to be mindful and connect with one another. Some reminiscences included:

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After the sessions staff enjoyed sharing their homemade lunches together,  comparing pictures of their cooking and reflecting back their thoughts of the morning.

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88% felt more valued as an employee by being offered the virtual away day

 What did the staff enjoy about the sessions?

  • I enjoyed all of it. I am really interested in eating healthily and knowing what I eat, and effects diet can have on our bodies
  • Shorter sessions with larger variety compared to normal away day activities.
  • Having some focussed time out of the working day
  • that it supplied practical advice on topics that affect our work… and it was conveyed in a cheerful and lively manner.
  • that it supplied practical advice on topics that affect our work… and it was conveyed in a cheerful and lively manner.
  • spending some time to focus on myself and have fun
  • Interacting in chat with people about food. it was nice to swap tips and recipes with others.
  • Mindfulness moments

If you want to explore how Work Ready can help you create an engaging (virtual) wellbeing day for your staff, or you’re interested in workplace nutritional health, we’d love to have a chat with you. Get in touch with us.



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