In todays super competitive work culture, there is a growing need for our workplaces to be more modern, that means all the bells and whistles when it comes to limited access cards, coffee machines, smart displays for meeting rooms and all the little bits that contribute in a big way to how the place looks and feels, ever scrutinised in the competition for talent and business in general.
But modern means more than just technology, modern means in the present, the now and building a culture and fostering a happy and productive workplace is what the most modern (and successful) companies are doing. ‘How’ is pretty simple really, it’s getting back to basics and remembering old truths we’ve long known and abandoned in our busy lives only to pick them back up and say actually, ‘this is what works’.
Here’s how & why you can use food to make your’s a modern office!
Yep, that’s it. Such is the power of eating together you’ll forgive someone for holding you against your will for their personal gain, surely snaking a lead or wearing the same thing at the christmas party can be smoothed over by breaking some bread together!
If you can, building the right culture should start from day one if not earlier, it’s crucial and much easier to build it from day one and create a space where people can grow and shine. Building tradition (especially of lunching together) helps start off on the right foot to fostering trust between staff and employers.
Professor Stephen Teo from Edith Cowan University spends his days studying what makes us happy in the workplace and he says
If you trust your employees, give them opportunities and challenging job tasks, give them feedback and respect them — that is where it is a win-win situation
But he says if staff are already unhappy or unproductive forcing them to do ‘fun’ activities might simply reinforce negative feelings, which is why if for whatever reason your office culture is in need of a simple way to start a conversation and start building trust, sharing a meal is the way to go.
Some of the modern new ideas like having a ping pong table or gum ball machine looks cool but it won’t do as much for you as having your employees feeling valued and treated well. Apparently “happier workers were 12 per cent more productive than average people. Unhappier workers were 10 per cent less productive” It works, it’s that simple having happy employees = better outcomes, enjoying a regular lunch together and NOT at your desks is a great way to spice up the day and also stretch out your legs and find focus. People often talk about how you ‘customer is king’ and sure they can’t be scoffed at but we like what Richard Branson says
clients do not come first, if you take care of your employees they will take care of the clients.
Eating together at work (across teams as well) is great for getting to know who you work with after all you spend a good portion of your life’s with but for something to really bring everyone together you need something a bit more exciting and wholesome.
Done the right way you can engage the team to brainstorm solutions, or simply encourage understanding new perspectives or just simply connect with another person. And If sales is a significant part of your team then nurturing relationships with clients and understanding their needs is the difference between making it or breaking it, as we suggested before sharing a meal can really break down some barriers and make you more comfortable, we’re not saying you should go out and kidnap some leads but if you can invite a potential customer to lunch at your office and find out their most pressing needs while they let their guards down eating, game over.
The best way is the buffet way, not only is it better having a hot meal with your team (especially coming into the winter months june is looking chilly) the nature of shared food is that it creates a more open atmosphere where everyone is on the same playing field.
And if you are the boss, you may have heard of the widely acclaimed TED talk by Simon Sinek on why ‘leaders eat last’ then maybe you want to commandeer the occasion and lead from the front making sure everyone has their share first, building that trust we talked about.
When it comes to choice, the verdict is in, everyone wants more of it and unique offerings. Use a themed menu to spice things up literally or otherwise, check out what’s available near you and enjoy a simpler, smarter more ‘modern’ way to eat together for a better workplace, right here.