Lunch. It’s most people’s favorite time of day because it signifies that the morning rush of emails is finally over and that there are only 5 more hours of work to go. Best of all, there’s food! It 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 coworkers 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. In fact, it sounds like a huge waste of time—even though company lunches have been proven to increase productivity and team building. Here are some reasons why every company should have team lunches.
Build Team Morale
According to a survey from Seamless, 78% of employees reported providing food for meetings with clients while companies aren’t 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.
A great way to encourage productivity is to use company lunches as a reward. If your team makes a certain amount of sales or executes on their goals flawlessly, celebrate success with a food truck catered lunch.
Employees are much more likely to brag about their place of work when it comes with perks. Not only are team building lunches good for the company internally, it can help build a good brand image externally. Through social media and word-of-mouth, this can mean better employee candidates for your team. In fact, 45 percent of workers said that the availability of free lunch would strongly influence their decision to accept a job offer. Office lunches are the real-life equivalent of your college professor saying that class could be held outside on the first nice day of spring.
Not sure where to start branding your company? Start with a “street fair”. You can easily book food trucks of all kinds for an hour or two, find a musician and fortune teller and you’re all set! Think of all the Instagram and Facebook posts that would come from happy, satisfied employees.
Encourages Team Bonding
Sharing meals with friends is still a sacred activity in so many places, where lunch can be a 3-hour affair at a restaurant or at a friend’s home. Eating together boosts relationships, forces people to talk about their personal lives and get to know each other outside of work. Surveys show that getting away from your desk for some face-to-face time, even just small talk in the kitchen, can improve productivity. Even better, it can encourage cooperation and teamwork. Because what is the one thing all coworkers definitely have in common? Work!
You often hear the phrase, “Hate the work, love the people” when it comes to company reviews. Studies show that retention rate is much higher for companies with employees who feel like they have good relationships with their team. Having a strong team bond is imperative to making sure your employees stick around.
Scared of awkward silences plaguing your team meal? Try ice-breakers for team building, especially if there’s a newcomer. These can be as simple as saying your name, where you’re from, and your favorite emoji all the way to something more lighthearted, like a balloon drop or the toaster game.
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.
– Mary Lister, Guest Contributor