Back in 2020, so many of us were forced to abruptly shut down our office cubicles and begin the transition of working from home. The familiar routine of our everyday lives disappeared overnight and working from home soon became our new normal.
Today we are in a world “post-Covid,” or more like “still-in-the-middle-of-Covid-but-now-we're-vaccinated-Covid,” and employees are starting to return to work, albeit hesitantly. Having spent the majority of the last year and a half cooped up inside, employees have finally fully adjusted to the work from home life and are comfortable staying there. While employers might not need everyone back in the office every single day, getting back to office work-life is important for many companies. Herein lies the big question: How do employers get employees to return to office-life when they’ve become so used to working from home and what is their reward for doing so?
Many employees may argue that the commute (after a year of avoiding it) is a hassle and an expense, while others may say they are just as productive at home, so what's the point of coming back into offices? Offering catered meals may be one of the best ways to persuade employees to return to the office for the in-person work style. The promise of free food is enough to get almost anyone excited, and it may be the trick to readjusting to office life. There are countless benefits to corporate catering that every employer should consider as offices are continuing to reopen.
It is a way to show gratitude to employees
The last year and a half has been tough on everyone— and working from home has certainly been a major contributor. Employees were forced to suddenly abandon their comfortable routines and enter the unfamiliar territory of working long hours in their home. Everyday social interaction in the office transformed into online meetings via Zoom or phone calls which created a massive sense of loneliness. It was enough to take a toll on anybody, especially employees. Providing them with fresh, catered meals at work can help ease the transition back to the office and thank workers for their efforts and for the additional time commitment and travel expenses of returning.
It helps save employees time and money
Once the workday ends, employees return to their lives as parents, friends, athletes, or to other activities and obligations. They may not have the time or energy left to prepare dinner, let alone plan lunch or breakfast for the next day. People often stop for a quick breakfast on the way into work, or leave the office to buy lunch in the middle of the day, which could add up fast. Having catered breakfasts or lunches ready at the office will save workers time and money by knowing that they will not need to worry about planning ahead.
Employees will be more likely to eat healthier
In addition to saving them money by providing catered meals, workers will also be more likely to go for a healthier option than they would if they had gone out to buy their meal elsewhere. Also, nearly one-quarter of Americans skip breakfast entirely and are not properly fueled for the workday. Providing them with a healthy breakfast right in the office will help start the day off right. Healthier meal choices will also contribute to increased productivity in the office by avoiding the energy crash from salt and sugar-laden foods altogether.
Office meals will improve company culture
We’ve all gotten used to the loneliness that working from home created. People may be returning to work with coworkers whom they haven’t seen in person since last March, or possibly meeting coworkers for the first time ever in person. Social interaction is a human necessity, but we were stripped away of it so suddenly and had to adapt to life without it. Having a designated meal time at work with catered food will give employees the chance to interact and build new connections, which can improve communication and trust in the workplace.
A mental break from work will increase productivity
62% of American employees eat lunch at their desks, not allowing themselves to take a break from their work to mindfully enjoy a meal or connect with other people. This will inevitably lead to feeling burnt out. Taking a break away from all things work to eat and interact will leave employees feeling refreshed and refueled to finish out the day strong. Plus, having a catered meal eliminates the need to leave the office for lunch, making it more likely for employees to return to work in a timely manner.
Navigating work life safely while the future of the Pandemic remains uncertain is not an easy task. Including catered meals in the office is not the only solution, but it has several benefits and is certainly a good place to start when trying to ease the transition of returning to work this fall.
Milk Street Cafe has also made it even easier to order for the whole office. Save time by taking advantage of our new Group Ordering system on our website that allows you to share one link with the whole office so they can add their own items based on dietary restrictions to one shared cart. Get started here, and click on the "Group Order" icon at the top of the page. If you have any questions about corporate catering or need specific dietary menu options, call us at Milk Street Cafe! 617-542-3663.