A topic in the media this week was obesity in the workplace, and as it’s a bit controversial it thought it may be fun to tackle it! So, is being obese at work a disadvantage?
Let’s discuss the mental side first. If someone is overweight this can often send out certain messages, common conceptions, presumptions and strongly affect first impressions. These might be poor health, low energy levels, low confidence / self-esteem, lack of determination or control – right or wrong these are not really traits that an employer would look for in a successful employee. Some of these might not necessarily be true & that person may be just as capable as the next person but physical appearances are very powerful in today’s society. It should also be mentioned that many people find it harder to control their weight due to certain medical conditions.
Right then, the physical side. This all depends on the physical demands of the job linked with health and safety. We employ someone on their suitability to do a job so if they can’t do that job well (for whatever reason) then someone else may be better suited. On the flip-side, if the job role isn’t going to be affected by their physical capabilities or related affects then yes, that person should be an equal contender for the job / promotion.
Whether someone is happy to be obese or not, ultimately it is related to excess calorie consumption which they control. A person’s size is a fact about them & so shouldn’t it hold the same weight (pardon the pun) as any other facts such as their qualifications or experience? From reading this blog back, it seems like I’m fat’ist, but I have nothing against obese people at all, I’m just trying to clarify the topic. With obesity on the rise many people aren’t taking responsibility for themselves and from all views it has needlessly become a taboo subject in workplace politics.
With the risk of hate-mail, I’d be very interested on your opinions.