What’s the sociology of the common meal from the business perspective? Is providing breakfast to your employees a good way to increase their motivation? Are there any other benefits of co-workers gathering for breakfast in the morning?
BREAKFAST AS A WAY TO SHAPE STARTUP CULTURE
One of the main duties of every business owner or a leader is to maintain good relations with all of the company’s members: customers, suppliers, business partners, and most importantly – employees. However, it is sometimes challenging to get to know well all of your workers and listen carefully to their ideas and concerns. Creating a great company culture can help to improve this situation. A unique tradition fosters building bridges between employees and employers. In this way you can strengthen the communication process at the workplace. Through simple steps, for example, introducing the tradition of having common meals. Why breakfast? As it was already mentioned – the tradition your company is decided to follow should be unique. Since lunch etiquette is becoming more and more popular, why not start cultivating the morning meals?
What’s more, there are a lot of benefits of having your workers at one place. For instance, it has a positive impact on the quality of their work and introduces an order into daily schedule. As at Liki we like trying out different startup culture practises, we thought about the whole team breakfast and decided to give it a go. In the future perspective of nurturing this bonding tradition, we’d like to share our remarks. Let’s look at company breakfast from the point of view of (not only) Software House’s top executives and employees. There are some key aspects you should take into consideration before incorporating this idea into your company’s life. First rule worth remembering is…
DON’T FORGET THE MOST IMPORTANT MEAL OF THE DAY
Even though breakfast is the most important meal of the day, too many people have nothing more than just a coffee or a doughnut in the morning. Breakfast is the first thing employees forget to bring to work because of various reasons. The most common include getting up too late or getting stuck in a traffic jam. In spite of the fact that breakfast is a real productivity tool, it is often the neglected aspect of the office life. As long as company cares for supplying workers with free coffee, breakfast remains the individual matter. Undeniably skipping the first meal is detrimental to our health and general wellness. As a result, hungry (or sometimes even hangry) workers tend to grab whatever can be found in their proximity.
Due to midday sugar drop, these are usually some random unhealthy snacks or sweets. Of course, they seem to give us a quick boost of energy. However it is very delusive and lasts only for a while. In fact, they gradually deprive us of the vital powers and efficiency during the whole workday. As a consequence, the stress hormones turn workers into irritated, tired and unable to process information zombies. What’s the way to handle this problem from the perspective of Software House top executives? This matter might not at all involve any high tech solution. Taking simple steps is enough. In short, the way to a more effective company could be through your employees’ stomachs.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF COMPANY BREAKFAST FOR TOP EXECUTIVES?
The whole idea is definitely worth trying out. It’s important to note that its benefits are reciprocal. Both sides leaders and workers will gain more than lose. As a leader you will…
#1 show that you care
It might sound a little bit like a cliche. However, in reality that’s the key aspect of maintaining good relationships with workers. It’s a very simple pattern, indeed. Let your employees indulge in small pleasures. In return they will prove their engagement and dedication. As a natural outcome, the employees who feel cared for usually do their best, stay longer and work harder. And the whole idea will make your brand unique and help you to…
#2 set your company’s mission
Establishing an attractive office tradition can contribute to setting the overall company’s direction. Following an activity which is exclusive to your company, is a way to define its mission, values and goals. When you implement this idea into life, it can become an intrinsic part of the office life. Common breakfast can make the workers easily identify with the company’s name. What’s more, it makes the team feel doing something special together. And that’s the first step to…
#3 create convenient workplace
Common breakfast gets employees in earlier because they don’t have to worry about cooking or making stops before work. This bonding experience also increases their morale. Moreover, it ensures good relationship with the colleagues. Good relations between workers can bring the social aspect to the higher level. As an outcome, people will simply like their job. From the running-your-own-business point of view, you probably think about the costs and doubt if it pays off. First, try to answer the question…
WHAT IS THE COST OF NOT PROVIDING BREAKFAST TO YOUR EMPLOYEES?
Different types of research and studies proved that employees eating their meals at their desks is a very frequent picture in many companies. This means countless of missed opportunities for interaction, collaboration, brainstorming and socialization. It’s time to become aware of how detrimental it can be to your team. Not only due to negative impact on people’s health, but because it decreases their morale over the long run. Of course, you may have doubts whether this concept is good for your company. You may be even directed by the fear of losing control over workers’ schedule and losing your team for an hour at the beginning of the day. On the other hand, you would like to accomplish the goal of creating collaborative atmosphere. Secondly, equally important is promoting knowledge transfer across various departments. However it can only work out when people are communicating and sharing their ideas. So, serving free breakfast allows employees for discussion on what they are currently working on, share stories, resolve the conflicts and support one another. Even if at the beginning you may have doubts, in the long run office breakfast more than pays for itself. Try to think of it this way: offering free breakfast to your employees is like buying computers for them to work on.
If you are lucky enough to be someone’s employer, then you have a moral obligation to make sure people do look forward to coming to work in the morning.
– John Mackey, Whole Foods
WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF OFFICE BREAKFAST ON THE WORKDAY?
Hungry workers may waste time on looking for the leftovers or deciding what snack to choose. As a consequence, it disrupts the workday structure. The only thing they can focus on is getting something to eat. When they finally eat something it’s lunchtime but of course they won’t join the others. That’s the collapse of the day-to-day schedule.By offering a nutritious breakfast you can get people operating at their highest productivity level. Consequently, it will maintain their efficiency throughout the rest of the day. In order to become fully aware of the benefits, let’s analyze certain scenarios with and without organized breakfast which will clearly illustrate the benefits of sharing a meal for your company’s overall functioning. Let’s mention at least two main benefits which will illustrate how common breakfast can solve some of the office problems. First of all…
#1 It syncs the schedules, modes of work and energy levels of your workers
Indeed, breakfast will connect co-workers despite their individual working styles and habits. We live in the era when there’s the conviction that doing your job right definitely matters more than sitting at the office desk from 8 to 4 p.m or from 9 to 5 p.m. Hence, no wonder that we observe the growing popularity of remote work. Of course, what really counts are the results and effects of your work. However, at the same time every company’s pursuit is to upgrade communication. The aim of every CEO is to push their workers out of their comfort zone to make them collaborate, brainstorm and inspire one another. It is obvious that there are workers who would sleep late and appear in the office around 10-11 a.m. If it were up to them. They usually start their day with taking a quick sip of coffee, responding to a few emails, and then coworking with the team. On the other hand we’ve got the individuals who eagerly wake up early in the morning to start their day with healthy breakfast and jogging. They usually appear in the office fully charged at 7.45 a.m. These two types of workers rarely get motivated at the same time and seldom get similarly organized in terms of time management. However, this scenario can be avoided by setting up common breakfast from 8 to 9 a.m. It will synchronize not only our employees’ blood sugar levels but also their schedules. Now we can move to the next benefit of company breakfast which is…
#2 encouraging collaboration across the company
Let’s assume that two colleagues work together on a project, but now they split to different tasks. Even though they still touch quite relevant issues. Undoubtedly it would be nice if they could share ideas. Of course, they would pursue to do this and set some meeting, which isn’t so easy, given everyone’s hectic schedules and packed calendars. Maybe they manage to meet during a break, then. Or there’s always an option to wait for a random bumping into each other in the elevator. However, let’s face the truth – that’s a moment which may never come. When the workday is intense and productive, it’s not an easy task to find some free time to interact with others. Obviously, this problem can be solved by gathering at one table in the morning.
WHAT SHOULD BE YOUR COMPANY’S VERSION OF FREE BREAKFAST?
I’m not saying your company should necessarily start offering free breakfast. If you don’t feel it’s an appropriate solution for your company, you have to think through this idea, and analyze pros and cons. Before making decision to cultivate it as an office tradition, first you should consider if it’s really what your team needs. However, if you have a gut feeling it may work out in your office environment, think about the logistics of this idea. It depends on the size, location and culture of a company. In short, let’s take a look at some organization issues. Here are some tips to follow and key aspects, which needs to be taken into consideration.
1. Find a good reason to start
Whether you’re celebrating a holiday, a common success, a somebody’s birthday or just want to thank your staff for the commitment. At the beginning every occasion can turn into dining opportunity and every reason is good to set a meeting with a meal served for the whole team.
2. Set the exact time
What time should it start and how long should it last? One hour usually is the best duration time which gives enough time to socialize without rushing. Whether it is a grab-and-go type of breakfast or full service catered breakfast, it is important to set the actual time beforehand so as to avoid chaos.
3. Decide on frequency
You don’t have to start with day-to-day schedule. It can be once a month or because of some occasion. It depends on your company size or budget. Just try out this idea and observe what works out for you.
4. Account for dietary needs
For sure some of your team members include vegans, vegetarians or allergy sufferers. You need take their need into account while deciding on menu not to make them feel excluded.
5. Launch dining club
Ensure the continnum of the tradition at least for the volunteers. Offer breakfast for the early birds who prefer to avoid morning rush, drink coffee in silence and just attune to working atmosphere. Being a member of a breakfast club may encourage them to take advantage of extra morning time even better. Powered by nutritious breakfast they can start discussing important issues, trigger brainstorming and then pass their motivation on the latecomers.
Food as a social opportunity – that’s how companies should treat need it in order to successfully start their breakfast program. Providing your employers common meal is providing them an engaging and bonding experience. That idea enables meeting people from different departments they are otherwise isolated from. Help your employees break bread to finally gather at one place. This solution seems to do wonders for employee satisfaction not only due to free food. Improving morale, increasing productivity, boosting brain activity or fixing schedules problems are only some of the benefits. That’s why at Liki Mobile Solutions we decided to try out this idea and we’re glad of the results. Check it out, get inspired and create your own unique company tradition.