Digiday recently posted an interesting article called Breaking Bread and Bonding about the “office lunch” replacing happy hour as the focal point of team bonding. The article focused on ad agencies, but we see a similar trend at any company that creates a meal program for their employees.
Here at Cater2.me, we couldn’t agree more: the office lunch is the new happy hour. We believe that office lunches aren’t just a perk. There is an imperative need to sit down and have meals with your colleagues. Food is the linchpin of most of our cultural and social gatherings, which is why group meals are so important. It’s not unlike the warm fuzzy feeling around family meals but at work. Creating culture around company meal experiences is one of our core values.
Across our offices, we provide meals to the team several times a week, from a wide variety of cuisines. We may have Mexican one day, Indian another, and Ethiopian the next. This variety is exciting in and of itself, but it also gets people sitting together, sharing their impressions of the food, and having genuine conversations. We are all foodies, so lunch becomes a lightning rod event where people share stories about their own personal cuisine experiences and travels. This fosters bonding over our shared passions.
You don’t have to be an office full of foodies for this to work. If you sit down to eat with the person at the desk next to you or on the other side of the room, chances are you’re going to talk, even if it’s not about food. It’s an opportunity to connect with someone that may otherwise have been missed.
Creating these bonds has a huge impact. Strengthening team relationships not only contributes to a friendlier office environment, but also improves productivity. For example, communication breakdowns between individuals or departments can be avoided when both parties are more familiar with one another. Knowing how to communicate effectively can save the hassle of endlessly long email chains or unproductive meetings. Building relationships fosters real collaboration. This is huge in the startup community. Without a strong team, innovation will suffer and the company with it.
This trend isn’t limited to cities with startup scenes either. The office lunch is becoming a common offering at companies from a range of regions and industries. Gone are the days of boring lunches at your desk and disconnection from your co-workers.
If there’s one thing we know to be true, it’s that the path to a happy team is through their stomachs!