Office catering is often considered just a ‘nice to have.’ However, there is a lot more that it can bring to your business than just an added extra at the occasional meeting. As Dutch scientist Louise Fresco said, “Food is… not about nutrients and calories. It’s about sharing. It’s about honesty. It’s about identity.” Offering food at meetings or to employees could do a lot more than just fill them up.
The reality of food and working today
The average person will spend around 90,000 hours at work over the course of a lifetime and probably eat at least one meal a day in the office during that time. Potentially, that creates 260 opportunities a year for employees to bond, chat and strengthen communication skills but many businesses simply don’t take advantage of this today. Given that two thirds of employees eat lunch alone at least three times a week there is a clear opportunity to help improve employee experience, as well as business culture, by putting food at the centre of the table.
How is office catering good for your business?
- Food brings people together. Too many people eat alone today – which is fine if they are pushing to meet a deadline but can be depressing if it happens on a regular basis. Depression and anxiety are often triggered by feelings of isolation and this can affect contribution and performance.
- If you’re providing food to your teams you’re ensuring they take a break. Today, most of the advice on productivity acknowledges that over-worked employees who don’t take breaks are much less likely to be productive than those who regularly stop. Especially if it’s to be sociable and refuel.
- Good food can boost performance. If the food you provide is a healthy alternative to vending machine snacks or food loaded with sugar this could help to improve the way your employees work. This focus on health and wellness can improve staff engagement and may attract certain types of employees, millennials in particular.
- Strengthening company culture and positive values. Providing office catering shows the business cares about employee welfare, recognises the need for regular breaks and is committed to ensuring that staff are happy and healthy.
- Breaking up the day. Particularly if you have large numbers of staff who are engaged in fairly monotonous roles, catering can break up the day. It can also be a morale boost, not just in terms of feeling like the business cares but as a result of the social interaction and enjoyment of the food too.
- Focusing on better work life balance sets a good example. Providing office catering carves out officially sanctioned time for employees away from their desks and in a more sociable environment. This can help to reinforce the message that work-life balance is important and staff should look after their wellbeing as well as ensuring targets are met.
Office catering can generate a wide range of benefits for any business, from boosting morale to reinforcing a positive working culture. Whether you introduce it at breakfast, teatime or as a regular lunch opportunity, it’s a great way to help your business grow.