As companies begin to implement flexible, hybrid office models, leaders are taking a second look at workplace and company culture perks—specifically feeding their teams. Here’s why catered meals at work are here to stay in the new “normal” and how to implement corporate catering in a safe and flexible way.
The Biggest WFH Experiment in Human History
COVID-19 has been called the biggest working-from-home office experiment in human history. Since 2020, those employees who could work from home have set up offices in their kitchens or spare bedrooms and used technology to effectively work remotely. While many enjoyed the newfound freedom to work from anywhere, the isolation and lack of in-person socialization, collaboration, and physical connection among team members in an office setting came at a high price.
In fact, a UK-based study during the pandemic of 3,000 remote workers found that over two-thirds felt disconnected from their colleagues and half said that disconnection had a negative impact on how they viewed their job. A similar US study by Indeed showed that 45% of remote workers missed in-person meetings and work-related side conversations that happen in the office.
Not only did employee mental health and wellness, happiness, personal connection, and productivity take a nosedive during remote working, but so did company culture. What originally attracted and retained top talent at companies struggled to maintain its spirit—and keep top talent engaged—digitally and remotely. This is especially the case with company perks, which in some cases, are so much more than simple office perks when it comes to their benefits.
The Importance of Breaking Bread Together
Take free food at work, for example. Many of the world’s leading companies have taken a cue from top restaurants that offer staff meals before every service. Why? Breaking bread together sets the tone for the workplace, connects staff on a human level (beyond the work), and socializes teams. Corporate catering feeds and fuels your team with healthy (and fun) meal choices to keep productivity, wellness, and happiness high. It also offers companies a chance to showcase and reinforce their company culture on a daily basis.
In contrast, when employees work from home, they often work straight through lunch without taking a break (queue burn out) or eat and spend most of the day alone and in front of their screens. None of which is good for employee health and wellness.
Flexible Perks In Hybrid Office Models
The biggest draw for both employees and companies in the hybrid model is its flexibility. Where before COVID-19 employees went to the office 9-5 as a part of their job commitment, now it’s a daily choice.
When employees are in the office, companies must take full advantage of reinforcing culture and perks to keep them happy and engaged.
As more North Americans become vaccinated against COVID-19, more employees are opting to return to their offices at least several days a week. One study found that one in three professionals who were working from home would quit if they had to work full time in the office. Half of the respondents preferred a hybrid work model, where they could divide their time between the office and home. According to Microsoft’s 2021 report, 73% of employees surveyed wanted flexible remote work options.
How to Offer Flexible and Safe Office Meals
Workplace perks like office lunches must now be flexible, agile, and safe as ever.
The hybrid office model makes it challenging to keep track of how many employees are present in the office on any given day. For daily meal planning, it’s almost impossible to plan an exact order to reflect the number of in-office employees.
Of course, gone are the days of all-you-can-eat workplace buffets. “Snacks that you have to stick your hands in to get is not gonna happen,” said Robby Kwok, senior VP of people at Slack. This is most obvious for the health and safety of employees, but also for budgeting, ever-changing headcount, meal preferences and needs, staggered lunch hours, and reducing food waste.
Foodee has a simple solution.
With Foodee, companies build an online meal plan by choosing a wide variety of top local restaurants to rotate through and select budgets for individual meals. Employees place their own meal orders within those set parameters and add in their preferences and dietary restrictions for contactless office delivery on the days of the week that they will be in the office.
In the same way that people at home can support local restaurants safely through door-to-door contactless delivery, so too can office catering when delivered directly from restaurants. Corporate meals are ordered, packaged, and labeled specifically for individual employees while socially distanced hybrid office dining spaces and safety protocols can be easily followed, monitored, and adjusted to in real-time.
Administrative and operations staff maintain full visibility of daily orders and can manage meal planning, budgets, and track daily headcounts in their Foodee admin dashboard. Foodee’s corporate catering tools are convenient and ideal for an office looking to efficiently spend their meal budget in a hybrid office model.
Is your team looking for a reliable, flexible solution to keep employees happy, engaged, healthy, and safe? Food technology solutions like Foodee allow teams to navigate changes on the fly in the new work environment. Sign up for the platform today and see how easy it is to reintroduce corporate catering to your hybrid working team.
Ready to order corporate catering for your office?
At Foodee, we partner with top local restaurants across the city to fuel workforces with a variety of tasty options. Build a meal plan to easily & safely feed hybrid teams with Foodee.