3 Ways Providing Company Meals Increases Productivity
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In a culture where we are always connected, it is no wonder that research shows only one in five workers get up from their desk for lunch.
This can be detrimental and can damage health and morale over the long term. So how do you encourage healthy breaks without losing your whole team for two hours in the middle of the workday? One solution seems to do wonders for employee satisfaction around the world: free food. Providing company meals has shown to improve morale, productivity, and generate camaraderie.
I recently spoke with Christine Marcus, Co-founder and CEO of Alchemista, who agrees that the answer to increased productivity can be as simple as providing a healthy, locally-sourced meal.
Marcus’ company specializes in connecting businesses with local chefs that would otherwise not be able to offer a catering service. In a market dominated by unhealthy mega food chains, locally-sourced catering is positioning itself as the wholesome, morale-boosting alternative.
Here are Marcus’ three ways of providing company meals to increase productivity:
#1 Create a Lunch Culture
“Taking breaks is vital to productivity and keeps employees from getting stir crazy, so it’s key to create a lunch culture that fosters collaboration and creativity,” says Marcus.
Employers will go to extraordinary lengths to build employee bonding, from company retreats to team building outings, but lunch is one of the easiest ways to improve company culture and therefore build a stronger team.
It is estimated that more than 50 percent of employees eat lunch at their desk every day. This means countless missed interactions that promote collaboration, brainstorming, and socialization within the company.
“Food should be a social activity and that’s what companies need to look for when choosing how to start or revamp their catered lunch program,” says Marcus. “We work to provide an experience that helps employees engage with one another and meet people from different departments they are otherwise isolated from – in short, we help employees break bread to come together, not merely eat lunch.”
#2 Health Powerhouse
Healthy food has a whole host of benefits, especially when available in the workplace. The World Health Organization found that with the right lunch ingredients, you can boost brain power as much as 20 percent and accomplish more once you get back to work.
“Providing lunch from hip, sought after local chefs is about more than offering a nice perk, it directly benefits productivity,” says Marcus. “Providing food that boosts brain activity – both through nutrition and experience – will revitalize employees when they do get back to work. Gone are the days of having to settle for mediocre institutional catering.”
#3 Don’t forget the most important meal of the day
“Breakfast often gets overlooked by employers, but we’ve found it to be hugely advantageous to productivity,” Marcus explains. “Breakfast as a productivity tool gets employees starting off on the right foot and it gets them in earlier because they don’t have to worry about cooking or making stops before work.”
The morning jolt of caffeine is great and so are foods rich in Vitamin B, such as oatmeal, bananas and avocado, which are shown to improve concentration and provide energy.
“What’s important here is companies have a chance to set the tone for their employees every day. Providing healthy options helps to nix the temptation for donuts or a fast food breakfast, which leads to a mid-morning sugar crash,” says Marcus. “And skipping breakfast altogether is a productivity bomb because we lose focus and tend to grab whatever is most convenient, like vending machine snacks.”
While not the high tech solution we have come to expect, the way to a more efficient company could be through your employees’ stomachs.