As people adjust to the post-pandemic world, companies are seeking creative ways to entice workers back to the office. One powerful yet often overlooked strategy is offering free or subsidized lunches. Not only does this perk boost morale, but it also supports local businesses and fosters a sense of community. Join us as we dive into the benefits of serving meals for your returning workforce, explore the impact of communal dining areas, and underline the significance of championing health with better food choices.

The Power of Free Lunch in the Return to Office

Nothing brings people together quite like food. Remember those holiday potlucks and team lunches? The magic of those moments wasn’t just in the food, but in the camaraderie it fostered. Offering free or discounted meals is not a mere perk—it’s a strategic tool that can help foster bonds, spark communication, and enhance team bonding. According to a Fooda Research study, 93% of respondents said that food at work improves their workplace experience, and eight out of ten said that they would be more enthusiastic about being onsite if their employer paid for their lunch.

Organizations can customize their meal programs, control the budget, and select which local restaurants are included in their offerings through a partnership with Fooda. This not only gives employees a sense of appreciation but also showcases a company’s commitment to the community.

Key Takeaways 

  • Offering free meals to employees when they return to the office can improve engagement, productivity, occupancy, and loyalty.
  • Providing free lunch to younger employees can have a positive impact on their motivation and generate long-term benefits for both parties.
  • Creating communal dining spaces within your buildings encourages shared meals and enhances employee morale.

The Impact on Younger Workers

Employer-paid lunches, in any capacity, can significantly motivate younger people, especially when it is not expected. Studies have shown that providing free or discounted meals to younger employees can have a positive impact on their motivation, attract and retain employees, reduce the pay stigma, and generate long-term benefits. Recognizing this, industry leaders like Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn have incorporated meal perks into their offices as an intrinsic part of their employee welfare programs. 

These meals signal to employees that their well-being and comfort are top priorities, making them feel more integrated into the company culture.

Supporting Local Restaurants

Modern businesses thrive not just on profits, but on their connections and contributions to the community. When organizations choose to source their meals from local restaurants, they’re making a statement about their commitment to local businesses and community growth. This symbiotic relationship ensures that as businesses grow, they uplift the community around them, creating a holistic cycle of development.

Fooda, for instance, offers an array of services that seamlessly connect offices with local restaurants. From Popup restaurants and individual boxed deliveries, to even cafeteria replacement, these services not only excite employees but also provide vital, consistent revenue streams for local businesses. Users simply download an app and choose what meal sounds best to them.

Promoting Breaks and Socializing Through Food

Food strengthens social ties. By having dining areas and coffee breaks, companies boost interaction among employees. Dining areas foster team bonding and mindful eating, while coffee breaks enhance morale and team connections.

Central to this vision is the establishment of communal dining areas. However, the true magic happens when these spaces are complemented with a meal. Offering free food in these shared spaces doesn’t just address the basic need for food, it acts as an invitation, which encourages sitting around a table, sharing a meal, and organically engaging in discussions beyond the scope of regular work.

Enhancing Employee Health with Nutritious Meals

With the growing trend around health and wellness, organizations are realizing that employee well-being directly correlates with productivity and satisfaction. By offering a range of nutritious options – catering to vegetarians, vegans, and other dietary needs—companies send a clear message about their dedication to health.

With modern food programs like Fooda, employees can choose what they want to eat everyday from a rotating list of local restaurants, from sushi rolls and premium salads, to protein-packed grain bowls, you can meet everyone’s health needs. This not only enhances physical well-being but also underscores the company’s commitment to recognizing and respecting individual choices.

Promoting Mindful Eating

The practice of mindful eating among employees can profoundly impact their overall wellness. Mindful eating involves paying attention to the present moment while eating, being fully aware of the sensations, thoughts, and emotions that arise during the eating experience.

Your business can promote mindful eating among employees by implementing the following strategies:

  • Offering nutrition and healthy eating resources
  • Encouraging regular eating breaks
  • Creating a supportive workplace environment
  • Providing healthy food options
  • Promoting mindfulness practice

In essence, introducing free meal perks in the return to office phase can revolutionize the overall workplace experience. By emphasizing support for local businesses, exploring trends like vegan and gluten-free offerings, and promoting interaction through food, your company can craft an enriching and inviting office environment.

Don’t forget to check out Fooda’s Employer Paid Guide and our free food at work webinar to make the most of your office’s food journey.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you entice employees back onsite?

Entice your employees back onsite by offering perks like free meals and daycare services, as well as creating a workspace that is more aesthetically pleasing and comfortable. Additionally, make the workplace experience fun and relevant to business objectives, provide food and convenience, and create an engaging calendar for everyone to look forward to.

What are some benefits of offering free lunch to your tenants?

This can lead to improved engagement and loyalty among your building’s tenants, while also supporting local businesses and creating a sense of community.

How can a rotating schedule for in-person meal days enhance team bonding and collaboration?

Bolstering team bonding and collaboration through in-person meals is easy when you use a rotating schedule to give employees the chance to mingle with different members of their team. This gives everyone an opportunity to communicate more effectively, improving overall collaboration.