People are obsessed with food. It’s the most photographed thing on Instagram. It’s no wonder free food is rising through the ranks of work benefits; the percentage of employers offering snacks and beverages rose considerably to 32% in 2018 alone.
Many positive things happen when employees need to worry less about their grumbling stomachs. Let us count the ways food freebies help everyone win...
1. Food is a universal language
Obviously, food is a basic human need. Therefore, it’s a benefit that appeals to all employees, regardless of their background. One of the hallmarks of a benefit is that it’s inclusive. Across the globe, food is at the center of most gatherings. In today’s diverse work population, it’s an especially great way for all employees to connect with one another.
2. Foster a sense of community and teamwork
Speaking of connection, lunch tables are more than just a place to eat meals. Those who have a space to help them bond with coworkers are 1.5x more likely to be engaged in the workplace. Providing meals not only encourages them to take a break and socialize, it boosts collaboration and teamwork.
3. Attract and retain top talent
A whopping 70% of employees are more likely to recommend an organization when they’re offered some kind of food. According to a 2018 CDC study, nearly 25% of 5,222 working adults were offered this benefit. In this day and age when companies must fight tooth and nail to entice and keep high performing employees, food is a no-brainer. In terms of retention, 67% of employees who were offered free food consider themselves “very” or “extremely” happy at their jobs.
4. Perks > $$$
Food is particularly appealing to millennials. Here’s a shocker: 89% of employees aged 18-34 and 84% in the 35-44 age range would rather have great perks than pay raises. In fact, 19% want free lunch as a benefit. Given that millennials are now the largest generation in the workforce, this must be taken into consideration when building out a comprehensive benefits package.
5. Make them feel appreciated
Speaking of millennials, two-thirds of them feel more valued by their organization when provided food benefits. When employees feel cared for, they’re more engaged and happier at their company. Creating a culture that promotes above average engagement can increase employee performance by over 240%! This is especially significant since Gallup’s research found that a staggering 67% of employees report not feeling engaged at work. Imagine the possibilities even if that number shrinks by just 10%!
6. Boost productivity and save time
Of course free food saves your employees money. But guess what? While it may sound like an added cost, providing food actually boosts your bottom line! It increases employee productivity because they’re no longer wasting time simply considering their meal options, driving, parking, etc. to get food. They can actually spend their lunch break effectively. Last year, it was reported that 56% of employees take a lunch break of 30 minutes or less. Seems good for employers, right? Nope, it’s detrimental all round. Taking a break and eating well means employees can focus and work well with full stomachs and fresh minds after their break. This results in them feeling valued and more engaged, and thus working harder to make the company successful.
And believe it or not, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Find out all the ways food can boost your company’s bottomline, culture and more: