Walk through this scenario with us:
You walk into the office Monday morning ready to get down to business when your receptionist greets you with a plate full of donuts.
You choose the glazed one with sprinkles, eat it, and immediately feel foggy and sluggish (and also a little guilty).
Unhealthy food, namely foods high in fat and sugar, have negative effects on our brain that literally determine how the rest of our days will go.
While many articles make the case that food in the office is bad (saying it contributes to expanded waist lines and sugar crashes for employees), having food in the office is super important.
Food in the office brings people together. It’s a perk people love, and at this point, almost every company offers some type of free food every now and then, so your company needs it to stay competitive in the market for talent.
The problem is, companies provide unhealthy food like pizza, donuts, bagels and cakes.
The solution is to provide healthy food and snack options.
Having healthy food/snacks around achieves the balance of providing a great perk while also making sure you are helping employees be healthy.
We’re not saying you should only have broccoli and kale lying around the kitchen – The key is to provide healthier alternatives from (previously) typical office treats like cookies.
How to start? Slowly.
Get rid of the jelly-filled donuts, and instead provide something sweet in the form of fruit like fruit and yogurt parfaits. Apply the same concept to lunches – Sub out turkey sandwiches and salad for pizza.
Providing healthy snack alternatives has a wrath of benefits for your team, and is actually considered good business.
Here are some advantages that come from having good food in the office.
What are the benefits of having office snacks around?
It attracts top talent
Gone are the days where office kitchens were nothing more than a rundown coffeemaker, makeshift water cooler and (maybe) a vending machine.
A fully-stocked kitchen of high-quality snacks is immediately attractive to prospective hires.
Employees, especially millennials, expect a lot more today as it pertains to workplace incentives, free food topping many people’s lists as both a perk and a non-negotiable.
Potential hires are not only looking for this perk while interviewing, they are even going as far as factoring it into their decision making in taking the job or not.
Studies from a USA Today article showed that 48% of respondents said that if they were looking for a new job, they would weigh company perks, including availability of snacks, in their decision.
Snacks may even lure employees to new companies. In fact, a study concluded that 66% of millennials said they would take another job at a different company if they were offered better workplace perks. That right there should be incentive enough to keep your A-players around.
It helps employees get excited about coming into work
Do you think you are more inclined to head into an office with no free snacks or plenty of free snacks?
Our guess is the latter.
In addition to promoting a healthy workplace, you are creating a fun environment that your team members want to be in.
Sharing breakfasts and lunches together are most often the times when friendships are created and co-worker bonds are strengthened.
Your team members are much more likely to tackle projects when they feel like they are part of a team – Office food helps to bring out that feeling of fitting in.
It brings people together
You want to be sure your team members get along great with one another. The best way to break the ice, especially with new people in the mix? Food.
No different than holiday meals bringing family together, an inviting office kitchen will organically bring people together to swap ideas and brainstorm on projects in a more relaxed environment.
Studies have shown that when employees have access to healthy office snacks as a bonus to their job, they take less sick time, are more productive, and are less likely to become ill due to a cold or the flu.
Bring on the apples and bananas!
It leads to a happier team
This one is pretty common sense, right?
When you eat well, you feel good. When you feel good, you are happy. Apply this simple method to equipping your team with quality snacks, and you will notice a difference in their attitudes.
According to the same survey published in USA Today, 67% of full-time employees with access to free food are “extremely” or “very” happy with their current jobs. That’s a high percentage!
It leads to a more productive team
Not only will your team be happier with free snacks floating around, they will be more productive.
And the numbers don’t lie – Here are some food-related stats on productivity:
- Happiness leads to a 12% spike in productivity, while unhappy workers proved 10% less productive.
- A study of 20,000 workers found that those who ate healthy throughout the day are 25% more likely to have higher job performance.
- Unhealthy eating is linked with a 66% increased risk of loss productivity.
Healthy food = brain fuel. When you’ve hit the afternoon slump and need a pick-me-up (and you’ve hit your 3 cups of coffee quota), what do you gravitate toward? Our guess is a satisfying snack that recharges you like a protein bar or energy bites.
At SnackNation, our unofficial motto is “count chemicals, not calories.” If you read the ingredients on a food product and it’s filled with chemicals and preservatives, you shouldn’t be buying it for your team.
Stick with fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, nuts, yogurt and granola bars.
A great choice that is equally as satisfying to eat as it is to say is Figgy Pops.
It boosts focus
Having healthy snacks at your office works against those energy crashes caused by candy and other sugar-filled foods.
Foods that balance protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates like KIND bars and mixes of nuts, dried berries and dark chocolate, are all ideal choices for keeping your team energized and laser-focused on the tasks at hand.
In order to keep your focus, taking breaks, of course, is essential throughout the workday.
That said, if your team members are constantly leaving the office to grab lunch and other pick-me-ups, that’s taking valuable time away from the office, and leaves employees frustrated with limited options from fast-food chains and coffee-shops.
No need to shame Tony for running out to get his chicken salad a few times a week, but having the option of free, healthy lunches, every day? That can’t really be beat.
Especially if it’s raining outside or your team members simply have too much work to do, they probably don’t feel like walking a few blocks to fetch a sandwich.
Healthy office snacks save the day again.
It shows appreciation
A wellness study published in the journal Population Health Management showed that 57% of workers say food-based perks would make them feel more valued and appreciated.
Having healthy snacks around the workplace lets team members know you care about them and their well-being.
It is one of the easiest ways managers can show their teams they appreciate their hard work and want them to lead a healthy lifestyle.
When employees have access to delicious, nutrient-rich foods, everyone benefits.
Your team’s happiness is dependent on their everyday – It’s the little things that matter rather than, say, extended vacation time. Hence, providing healthy snack options daily is a huge happiness and productivity booster for your team members.
When it comes to employee perks, few things are as simply satisfying as free food and drinks, double bonus when the free food and drinks are delicious and nutritious.