In the past few years, free food at work has become very popular, even the norm in some areas. In their 2018 Employee Benefits research, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reported that 32% of companies offered food and beverages in the workplace —an increase of 20% when compared to 2014. It’s no longer just a nice perk, the fact is offering free meals to your employees is an investment and there are many proven and lasting benefits.
1. Promote Healthy Eating Habits
If your employees have to go out of the office to fetch lunch, chances are they are not being particularly picky about what they eat. They have a limited amount of time and they are hungry. Chances are they will prioritize convenience rather than nutrition.
While the immediate negative impact will be directly on them, ultimately you and your bottom line will be impacted as well.
Unhealthy habits are costly – not only for individuals and society in general but also for employers. In the past ten years, chronic diseases have increased by 25% in working-age adults, and the CDC estimates that productivity losses due to missed work cost employers $225.8 billion, or $1,685 per employee, annually.
2. Improve Productivity, Creativity, and Team Building
A study published in the British Journal of Health Psychology reports that healthy eating throughout the day isn’t just good for the body, it is also good for the mind. The report said that the more people consumed nutritious food during the day -including fruits and vegetables- the happier, more engaged, and more creative they were.
Another frequently missed aspect that positively impacts productivity is that you are creating an environment where employees can mingle with members of teams they normally don’t interact with while sharing a meal. The potential exchange of ideas in these impromptu meetings and connections can mean saved time, develop stronger bonds among people, and increase cross-functional collaboration.
3. Keep Employees Focused
Leaving the office to get lunch can be distracting and leads people to waste time. If your employees don’t have to worry about fetching lunch in the middle of the day, they will be able to focus on their work. Even if they bring their own lunch to work, many end up grabbing their meals from the refrigerator and going back to their desks, which may be counter-productive.
4. Boost Employee Morale, Retention, and Recruitment
A positive office culture where employees feel valued goes a long way. Employees who feel appreciated are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs and will work harder and be less inclined to jump ship. Also, free lunch helps you stand out from the competition by sending the right message to potential job applicants. It says your company, as an employer, cares about providing a great work environment where employees are valued and they can thrive.
5. It Positively Impacts Your Bottom Line
As we mentioned earlier, offering lunch to your employees is not an expense, it’s really an investment. You are directly impacting productivity and turnover rates which means you’re also affecting profitability. Even if you’re not in a position to offer daily meals, weekly lunches — or even healthy snacks and drinks — won’t go unnoticed by your staff. An investment in your employees’ health is an investment in the growth and success of the whole company.
Offering meals at work has to be a well-thought-out decision. If this is something you plan to do in 2020, be sure to read 7 Questions You Should Ask When Selecting a Catering Service Provider.
Oh My Green is on a mission to transform the office into a destination for healthier living. If you’re not an Oh My Green customer, get on board now and make the upgrade now to nutritious and delicious!