Some people love to pack their own lunch for work every day. It takes the hassle out of figuring out what you want to eat every day – not to mention, saves a lot of money on eating out. Others love to pack their calendars with networking meals where they can do business and get to eat at the same time. Sure, it costs more money, but it often seems like a bargain when you look at how productive you still feel. Regardless of where you land on the spectrum, one thing is for sure, food plays a big role in our working lives.  Beyond just the meals, from snacks around the office to candy bowls – employees just love to eat, and the positive correlation between food in the office and employee productivity is undeniable.

According to Hoppier, who conducted an extensive study centered on the impact of office snacks and employees, found that “access to free food in the office increased employee happiness by 11%”. This statistic is just the beginning; in addition this study also found that “70% of the surveyed population believe office food directly improves their productivity as it prevents the inevitable stress that accompanies leaving the office and getting back in time” as well as improves focus as employees don’t have to be drawn away due to hunger.  The smart companies over the years have not only realized this but have leaned in harder to see if there is a role for them in feeding employees and what that bang for the buck would be. 

One thing is for sure, as workplaces try to create that magnate effect where employees want to return to the office as opposed to forcing or mandating it, food can play a role. Gathering for food will become a key part of office culture as employees return to offices. More than just a fridge to hold employee’s foods, looking at counters or even outside patios to gather and eat might be the magnate you need.

If serving employees food is old news, then we still want to push you to go beyond just offering food to offering nutrition. Serving protein bars instead of candy bars, fruit instead of chips – those companies that are offering healthier choices to employees are creating a healthier workforce. It’s more than just physical – it’s mental energy and helping to control the energy flow and highs/lows. This same concept applies to your vending machines. If vending is your only access to food, being sure it isn’t all sugar and has healthy choices will be appreciated. 

Finally, as we work with our clients through our Belonging Barometer to really be sure their offices are where they belong, we make food part of the discussion. Aside from all the things you can do on the inside of the office in terms of what you serve up, paying attention to what is on the outside or proximity can be equally as important. Of course, we all want our employees to be in the office as much as possible, but for those times where employees do eat away from the office, it will be helpful to have easy access to not just food, but ideally healthy choices. 

Until next time,

Brian + Ben

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