Five ways to improve habits in your workplace

why would food businesses bother

Why would a business want to improve the habits of it's staff?

A recent study done at Curtin University has shown that a group of people were able to make microwaving their dishcloth daily a habit.

How did they did they do that?

They gave them a poster initially, and then every three days they sent each person a text message to remind them to microwave their dishcloth to prevent it causing food poisoning. They did this over a three week period and then stopped. They checked with each person in the group three weeks later and found that 80% of the group were still microwaving their dishcloth.

So what happened?

The group were all young and their mobile phones were the key way they communicated with the world. So by using the communication method these people were using daily, and then regularly reminding them to do a simple task, the vast majority of the group made the task a habit.


The 80% who are now microwaving their dishcloth each day have made a small step toward preventing food poisoning in their homes.

So what else can we get them to do?

This is amazing, and it has lessons we can all learn in our businesses.

Better habit forming method one

Work out what you need to set or change. Sounds simple huh?

It is harder than it looks.

You cannot solve a problem until you know exactly what it is.


We'll use this example - If your staff are not washing their hands when they first come into your kitchen, and you want them to make washing their hands on entering into a habit (as it should be), you first need to work out what the problem actually is.

Is it;

  • the staff attitude
  • the staff lack of knowledge on how to wash their hands
  • the staff lack of understanding of the importance of hand washing
  • no incentive to do it
  • the incorrect location of the hand washing basin
  • poor placement of the rubbish bin or other required equipment
  • difficult equipment to use
  • or something else completely

Each of these problems will need different actions and some may not actually involve the staff.

You need to work out what the actual problem is, to then work out the solution.

Great handwashing sink foot operated

In the Curtin Uni study, the exact problem was dishcloths which can cause food poisoning.

See why you have to work out what the problem is first, before you work on the habits?

Once your staff have developed a good habit (including food safety ones) the better and safer your business will be, and that starts with working out what your problem is, so you can then determine what habit you need to develop or change.

Enough for today, we'll do Method Two in improving habits in your workplace (what habit do you want) in the next blog.

See you then.


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