Office Culture: Can Free Food Motivate Employees and Boost Morale?

The busy routine and structured schedule that accompanies a full-time work week can sometimes take its toll, overwhelming even the most productive employees and causing them to stay put at their desks, plugging away at their workload until it’s time to go home.  

Oftentimes, though, an organization will recognize this and attempt to boost morale and productivity the best way they know how: through their employees’ stomachs.

Using food to ‘lure’ people away from their desks – whether it’s pizza for lunch during a snow-storm; or an ice-cream social during the warmer months – is a great way to offer employees a well-earned break from their busy desks, creating an environment that builds camaraderie among co-workers, and adds a little fun to their workday.

“In our busy sales environment, food has been a fun and effective way to increase attendance at a variety of work-related functions and events,” says WinterWyman Senior Employee Engagement Manager, Cathy Phillips.  “To kick-off our wellness initiative, we served a delicious, healthy lunch. The menu we created supported the mission of health and wellness, attendance was significant and the employees took away important information they may have missed had we not enticed them with a free meal.”

Putting bowls of snacks around the office is also a great way to invite folks to take a break, have a snack, and maybe spend a few minutes viewing company information, such as updated company policies, annual enrollment info, or general changes within the office that they may not otherwise find the time to read about in an email.  Phillips also suggests using food to create fun, interactive office competitions, like a Chili Cook-Off, “these kinds of events are popular among our employees, and we know the food component is one of the main reasons why.” 

Food brings people together in all areas of life – and the work environment is no exception.  Giving employees the opportunity to interact with each other in a more social setting is essential to building a positive office culture.  Not every employee will partake in every free meal, however, being given the occasional perk lets employees feel appreciated, and lets them know that their continued hard work and dedication to the organization is valued and rewarded beyond their weekly paycheck.