All too often the annual Christmas meal is the only ‘relaxed’ time that colleagues get to spend together – time that doesn’t involve white-water rafting or building a tower of chairs. It doesn’t have to be that way… H&E North talk ‘company lunch’.

If we look at the working population, the biggest segment is made up of the millennial generation. The growth of this workforce has meant that employee expectations have also shifted. With more focus placed on work-life balance, employers are faced with creating positive working environments to attract and retain the best talent. Gone are the days when employees were satisfied with a simple wage at the end of the month and pat-on-the-back for a job well done. These days, companies need to stay competitive by building up their employee benefit offerings. In fact, ‘better workplace benefits’ is among the top reasons why millennial workers change jobs.

It’s one of life’s simple pleasures, but the act of sharing food has the power to bring people together. It can help play a vital role in the business world by enhancing workplace cultures. It helps make staff feel more part of a team, and ultimately helps retain the company’s most valuable assets – the employees themselves.

Turn to Food

Lunch. It’s most people’s favourite time of day because it signifies that the morning rush of emails is finally over. But best of all, there’s food! A company lunch also gives you an excuse to get away from a screen, talk to a real person, and hopefully develop new relationships with people you spend upwards of 40 hours a week working right next to.

But are lunches with your co-workers or team worth it to your employer? It’s a good chunk of time where you aren’t responding to emails, phone calls or being productive with projects after all. Even though company lunches have been proven to increase productivity and team building, according to a survey from US online food ordering service, Seamless, 78% of employees reported providing food for meetings with clients, while not providing that same level of service for their own meetings. Sure, it’s important to cater to clients, but it is also important to keep your employees happy.

Companies like City Pantry – which works with over 1,000 companies each month across the UK to provide food for client meetings and staff team lunches, letting workplaces choose meals from a whole host of high-street restaurants and eateries – claims that 60% of employees say sitting down for a meal regularly helps positive work culture. Employees also place food as third most-valuable workplace benefit, behind flexible working and corporate discounts.

While groups of colleagues do often benefit from adrenaline-fueled team building tasks, the likelihood of you recreating that rush is pretty scarce. How about just harnessing the daily goodwill that comes with a decent meal instead? Even just providing a separate shared eating space and time do it will encourage better habits in your workplace. After all, employers set the pace. By building this perk into your companies’ mindset or including lunch in a rigorous session of meetings, the skipping of meals and break times in fast-based industries will be discouraged too.

TOP TIP

Make company lunch a priority and try scheduling one day a month for a long lunch event. Source one hour for simply eating and use the next hour for a team status meeting. People will be more supportive and excited about work with food in their stomachs and your company productivity will start reaping the benefits.

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