Employee benefits come in many forms
Employee benefits come in many forms, but free food and drinks have enduring appeal, undoubtedly helping to boost staff morale and increase wellbeing.
“There’s no denying that food is linked to wellbeing, and the way that employers provide both can have a massive impact on a business,” suggests Justin Murray of Norfolk accountancy recruitment specialists, Big Sky Additions. “If employers put time and effort into demonstrating their appreciation for their staff’s wellbeing by investing in staff catering, I think its possible to see real returns in terms of productivity and employee satisfaction.”
Creating an area where teams can interact socially and where they can get healthy and energy boosting foods, at a time to suit them, could improve productivity by reducing the amount of time staff spend offsite choosing a snack or waiting for a healthy lunch to be prepared. “There’s a range of research to support the importance of a healthy workforce, and studies which clearly link improvements in operating margins with high levels of employee engagement,” adds Justin, who recruits for full time and part time accountancy jobs in Norfolk. Researchers who looked at teams of firefighters in USA, found that those who ate together most frequently tended to perform better. Here the researchers hypothesised that eating together was a more intimate bonding experience than simply working together on a desk-based task, and therefore encourages positive bonding.
The increased pace of modern working life is boosting trends like eating on the move, and it is easy for frazzled employees to be drawn towards sugary foods and drinks for a quick energy fix.
“Obesity may be a global issue, but its one that employers have to raise awareness of, and play their part by facilitating healthy eating in the workplace,” suggests Justin.
Staff canteens are becoming few and far between as Tescos is yet another employer to announce it will close more than 200 cafeterias and replace them with self-service kitchen areas and vending machines. Asda also came under fire when it axed its popular free tea and toast initiative, which was previously available to staff at the start of their working day. In Norwich however, one accountancy firm has bucked this trend and installed a pub in its offices. The Tax and Pounds is open every Friday afternoon from 4pm at Farnell Clarke’s Norwich office. “It’s a clever idea which will surely make the firm stand out to potential employees and it would be interesting to see if it boosts productivity in staff eager to finish their work early on a Friday afternoon!” adds Justin.