The workplace as we know it, is definitely changing. Ibec’s “2021 Returning to the Workplace Survey” found 61% Irish businesses foresee making permanent changes to their offices and policies to support public health. As food enthusiasts, we’re here to tell you how office catering can play a crucial role in your post-pandemic workplace.
Download our eBook “Shaping the modern workplace” to find out more on how food can play a role in the office of the future.
Importance of food in the workplace
There is no doubt that food is playing an increasingly important role in the workplace, with a growing number of companies beginning to realise how benefitial it is to offer food in the workplace.
Not only it is an effective perk to attract new talent, serving up food in the workplace has become key in motivating teams, boosting performance and creating healthy work environments.
Here are 5 reasons why food should be on the menu in the post-pandemic office.
1. Nutrition affects work performance
Foods have the ability to trigger responses in our brain and bodies which determine how well we perform tasks. Eating well throughout the day can keep us alert and our responses sharp – which in turn, makes us more productive. Poor nutrition can also impact employee health and present itself in the form of increased sickness and the possibility of accidents in the workplace. Offering food in the workplace will help address nutrition concerns and allow people to take proper breaks and help reduce stress and the risk of burnout.
2. Boost staff morale and company culture
50% of employees struggle to connect with their company’s culture while working
from home during COVID-19.
Humans are social creatures and by that nature, they crave social interactions. While virtual experiences have helped with recreating some of those interactions, nothing beats bringing people together over food.
Providing food for employees could be just what your employees need to reconnect and feel part of workplace life once again. Serving up lunch in the office will encourage people to interact with colleagues – helping them collaborate better, share knowledge and work together cohesively. All of these leave a positive impact on company culture and help build stronger brands.
3. Serve up sustainability
Attitudes are changing everywhere. Sustainability is a major priority at board or department level for 80% of companies, according to a survey conducted by the Facilities Show. A company that offers environmentally friendly catering and has its employees sharing sustainably made meals together demonstrates that it takes corporate social responsibility seriously. Ultimately, people now want to work for a company with wider purpose and shared values. This is particularly important for Generation Z and Millennials.
4. Encouraging healthy eating habits
We are what we eat, and our brain certainly reacts differently to the different foods we eat. Eating the right balance of nutrients impacts our energy levels, clarity of thoughts and our moods. Employers who want to focus on the wellbeing of their employees should look at these benefits of offering food.
As we plan the transition back to our physical workplace , registered associate nutritionist Kate Taylor says: “Our food choices are directly impacted by our mood and for many of us our mood will impact our food choices. It’s how we manage this circle to fit in with our lifestyle that’s important. Including different foods that can positively impact mood in your diet such as those which are high in fibre, sources of omega 3 fatty acids and contain vitamin D (to name a few) will absolutely help.”
5. Improve employee mental and emotional wellbeing
Lunchtimes (and other meals too) will remain essential to physical and mental wellbeing once employees return to the office. Taking breaks ensures we rest our mind, refocus and come back to complex tasks with renewed vigor.
There is nothing like a shared meal to bring people together and reduce the effects of loneliness and isolation brought about by this extended period of working from home. Not only that, sharing a meal will also motivate the team and boost creativity. Read our article on why it is important to encourage employees not to eat at their desks.
While lunch may be a great opportunity for social interaction, these days it could also be viewed as a potential safety hazard. A closer relationship will be needed between facilities and catering to ensure that all lunch areas are safe and not overcrowded.
Ensure employee safety during lunch
People will naturally be anxious about their own as well as their family’s safety as they start planning a return to the office. Minimising these concerns will be a priority for workplace managers. The current government guidance for workplaces requires them to take all possible measures to reduce risk to employees.
Providing office catering solutions and nutritious food in the office can help reduce the risk of contracting infections by eliminating trips to the high street during the busy lunch hour.
Here are some food options:
If you would like to reap some of these benefits we speak about and are currently considering setting up a food offer from scratch, delivered catering is the best starting point as it requires minimal space and investment to set up and adapts swiftly to changing requirements. But reaping the benefits of food at work doesn’t mean you need to offer food every day. Here are a few alternatives:
- Instead of a sandwich lunch try a street food pop-up to bring a sense of occasion to the office. Staff can see their food being made, putting any health and safety worries at ease
- Boost team bonding while learning to make something delicious, like DIY sushi rolls, at a food workshop
- Get a team of volunteers to cook for a local charity or soup kitchen
To deep dive into the role of food in the office of the future, download our ebook here: