Forget a sandwich and a Coke for lunch time. Some companies are aiming to do infuse creativity into a work staple: the lunch hour. Employers see doing lunch differently as an opportunity to boost employee satisfaction and add another dimension of culture. You’ve heard of the “free lunch” at work cafeterias—they’re great at boosting morale as much as a 401K. But some employers are going above and beyond this perk.
These lunch-time approaches will produce more than food envy; they are redefining what companies can bring to the table.
Let’s taco bout it.
1. Lunch Roulette
What happens when your usual lunch crowd isn’t around to dine with? You can feel the aloneness, even if you work at huge corporation. David Thompson, the founder of Lunch Roulette, a web application that randomly selects lunch dates for colleagues within an organization. People from different teams get to interact, producing enlightening conversations between people that would otherwise not meet. Pharmaceutical manufacturer, Boehringer Ingelheim, uses a similar program. They understand the importance of various ideas and people mixing within companies and industry ecosystems. Professor Suzanne Berger at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, states, “Workers exchange ideas over drinks and at baseball games. They switch jobs, taking their knowledge with them. They draw other companies, who compete to offer them goods and services. It all adds up to a more productive, more innovative economy”. The same happens within a company, creating a much more competitive and thoughtful ecosystem.
2. Nap Time
A midday rest is not only beneficial for kindergartners, companies reap benefits of well-rested employees in 15% more workplace efficiency. Employers, like Google and Nike, have set up nap pods in their offices for employers needing a lunch time snooze. 20 minutes of rest in the afternoon amps up a person’s focus and mood.
The world’s biggest tech giants have rolled out mindfulness programs; SAP has a waiting list of over 5000 employees hoping to take part in the internal training program. The practice of meditation delivers a much-needed antidote in the frenzied and stress workplace. It offers clarity and supports resilience in employees. During lunch, some programs have “mindful lunches” where they are led through a serious of gentle, mental exercises while they eat.
Besides free pizza, what else boosts creative pep to the office step? Easy absence management. Companies like MyTheresa and Check24 use absence.io to oversee their teams’ planned (and unplanned) absences. We don’t want to sound too cheesy, but we think we’re pretty great.