Employee recognition is an essential component in retaining a motivated and productive staff. Offering free beverages, snacks and meals to your staff has grown in popularity in recent years. While this treatment may be costly, the advantages far outweigh the costs.
How Does Providing Food Benefit Businesses?
While overall culture, perks and a variety of other factors all contribute to employee happiness, a new study of 1,000 full-time office workers found that a modest gesture — free work snacks — can go a long way.
Employees are happier in companies that give free food than in those that do not. While 56% of employees questioned were satisfied with their jobs, that percentage increased to 67% for those who received free food at work. The incentive is especially essential to millennials, who are three times as likely to appreciate it than those aged 45 and over.
But aren’t your staff happy enough already? Maybe so, but according to the survey, 48% of employees would assess business perks if they were looking for a new job — and 66% of millennials say that if they were offered a position at a company with superior perks, including snacks, they’d take it. When attempting to recruit or retain staff, even this small gesture can help.
In-Office Meals Can Promote a Healthy Workplace
For busy employees, it can be tempting to rely on fast food or insufficient snack items during the day. Poor meals like these provide little nutrients and can result in low energy, poor attention and other difficulties in the afternoon.
Employers who provide free lunches to their staff can provide them with fresher, healthier alternatives. You not only promote your employees’ health, but you also give them the tasty and nutritious alternatives they require to function at their best throughout the day. After all, how productive can someone be when they’re distracted by hunger or low blood sugar?
The Benefits of Providing Healthy Food
Instead of keeping junk food in the office which can cause spikes in blood sugar and result in an afternoon “crash,” provide your team with options like these in lunches and snack stations.
Spinach, kale, collards and broccoli contain a lot of brain-healthy nutrients, such as Vitamin K, lutein, folate and beta carotene, which have been shown to delay cognitive decline due to the plant pigment lutein in particular.
Avocados are another good choice; research has found that their monounsaturated fats, fiber and lutein can improve memory and problem-solving skills.
Carrots are high in Vitamin A, which is beneficial to your eyes, and luteolin, which can alleviate age-related memory loss as well as brain inflammation.
Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries contain inflammation-fighting flavonoids and antioxidants that combat oxidative stress.
Almonds contain healthy fats such as polyunsaturated fats, which can lower your cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Additionally, almonds have Omega-3 fatty acid, which reduces inflammation. This fatty acid also comes with high-energy calories, meaning that almonds can keep you feeling sated longer. Almonds are also rich in Vitamin E, which keeps the immune system strong and helps the body use vitamin K.
As the relevance of particular work perks changes, offices are looking for new, inventive ways to enhance employee engagement. Companies should take an active role in supporting their employees’ well-being to ensure better health in their work-life balance. For employees to take the needed vitamins from the aforementioned foods, offices can always pre-pack them for employees to enjoy in the lunch room or at their desks. Prepackaged snacks like seasoned kale chips are an easy way for busy employees to get these nutrients without needing to step away from their desks in between meals. In a convenience-driven workspace, the benefits of diverse and high-quality food options are usually at the top of the list for employees.