NEWS & VIEWS
We are nothing if not opinionated.
by Thaomy Lam - December 15, 2015
Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Brightworks. Not a list you see very often, but interesting all these companies have something very important in common. Awesome snacks!
The well-stocked office kitchen is a topic of ongoing attention as more businesses are seeking new ways to keep their teams happy and healthy. Filling the cupboards is a simple gesture, but it goes a long way to boost morale, increase productivity, promote healthy lifestyles, and bring teams together. Done right, office snacking is a great move for both employees and businesses.
In an interesting bit of survey research, Peapod, an online grocery service, found that 56% of office workers were “extremely” or “very” happy with their employment situations. In offices where free snacks were put on the table, that number jumped to 67%. In a similar WorkSphere survey, 30% of respondents said that office food offerings were a source of their workplace happiness.
It would seem the benefits are fairly obviously for employees. Really, who doesn’t like free snacks? And when provided onsite, employees end up saving money, spending more time in the office, becoming more engaged and having more energy to motor through the day. Good arguments further support that healthy daytime snacking can improve basic cognitive functions, as well as helping to increase focus and boost memory. There’s also a communal and cultural aspect to snacking. Whether companies have a designated snack time, or just a common kitchen area, snacking is social and makes for group bonding and team camaraderie.
In terms of the bottom line, office snacking is an investment in motivation, moral and employee wellness. Healthcare costs are forever a concern, and many businesses are looking for new ways to promote healthy eating and diet in conjunction with their wellness programs. A healthy snack program is a progressive way to cut medical costs, reduce the chances of illness and decrease absenteeism. Some, like Mindful Snacks founder James Tian, go as far as to say that complimentary snacking should be built right into benefits packages, alongside dental, eyewear and prescription drugs.
Snacking might never be a perks and benefits deal breaker for potential employees, but it does help to promote a positive brand image and position a business as an attractive place to work. It’s a simple message that tells employees that they’re valued. On a 2014 Forbes list of top employee perks, good food and free food rank number two, right behind games rooms.
At Brightworks, we pride ourselves not only on our great work, but also our killer kitchen! Of a quick survey of Brightworks staff, 100% said our snacks made their days just that much better (but they might have feared that any other answer might reduce their food options!).
“We’ve had lots of food and drink in the office, since day one, but over time our approach has evolved a little,” says Neil Follett, President and Founder of Brightworks.
“The goal was always really simple, to reward people for working hard and to keep them fuelled for the task at hand”. Where once there were mainly chips and junk food, the kitchen at Brightworks looks healthier than it did. “It was great to have food at hand, but admittedly is wasn’t always the healthiest food, we’ve tried to round out the selection and now have fruits, nuts and a whole range of other healthy options,” reflects Neil.