Offices do not have the same layout that they did a couple of decades ago. There are no longer all those tiny cubicles and a dreary lunchroom. The walls have literally and metaphorically been smashed down to make for a more open and inviting environment. This is quite largely due to the influx of millennials in the workplace.
This new generation brings with it a desire for the new and exciting. They do not view work as this arduous task that need be completed for the next 40 years. They want to enjoy their work, and they want to enjoy being at work. This has translated into offices that are bright and lively.
People no longer sit in silence in the lunchroom. Instead, there are games, lively conversations and sometimes even a couple of snacks scattered about. These tasty treats are complimentary and are quite the talk of the town when they are offered. Obviously, this is not the culture that is observed in all offices. But when the evidence is considered, it should be.
What are these treats and why are they there?
Employee snacks can be anything from fruit to a couple of packets of crisps. The sky is the limit when it comes to stocking up the cupboards. Most offices tend to stick to things like peanuts, chips, fruit and maybe even some chocolates. It all depends on who is doing the buying and what the prevailing motive is.
Employees are free to consume these snacks when they are feeling a bit peckish. By providing these snacks inside the office, employees do not need to go out to the shops when they are hungry. They can simply zip into the kitchen and pick their favorite treat. It is clear that this means people spend more time in the office than they otherwise would. And obviously, more time in the office translates to greater productivity.
Certain studies suggest that as many as 50% of the employees that were questioned said that they left the office at some point in the day to purchase snacks. There were even some that didn’t leave only once, but they went out multiple times. When this is added together a large company in the US could land up wasting upwards of 2 billion hours in productivity. In a capitalist society, this is certainly not desirable. The obvious solution was simply to offer the snacks in the office environment.
But, what about the money?
It is important to note here that snacks should not constitute a person’s entire lunch. They are simply supplemental in one’s diet. Any boss or owner would gawk at the idea of paying for every one of their employee’s lunches. It is for this reason that it is stated again, no one is giving every worker a free lunch.
Employers are simply offering their workers some treats throughout the day. This may seem like it could cost quite a bit. But, consider the facts and figures for the moment. If people eat at the office, they save on average an extra half an hour every time. This half an hour is then dedicated to work and not standing in queues.
If the minimum wage per person is $35 an hour and it costs about $15 to provide snacks for each employee. It becomes clear that companies could actually land up saving almost $5 per employee simply by providing them with snacks. These figures are obviously subject to change among companies, but there is clearly some kind of fiscal advantage to having snacks in the office.
What can snacks do for your employees?
Once the money has been dealt with, what do these snacks do for the employees in a company? Yes, they help stave off hunger pangs, but that is only the tip of the iceberg. A fed employee is actually a happy employee.
In the hustle and bustle of the office, people do not always eat when they are hungry. They at times are simply too busy to rush to the shops just because they need something to eat. This means that they will sit at their desks, hard at work, with an empty stomach. This same hungry person is not very pleasant to deal with. They do not have the energy to complete their tasks accurately and efficiently. They are also quite moody which makes cooperation among colleagues very difficult.
No one wants to work with someone that is snapping at them constantly simply because their blood sugar levels have dipped. All of this can be easily solved by keeping employees fed. They will no longer be distracted but will rather be energetic and focused on the task at hand.
Which snacks should one provide for their employees?
There are three things to consider when stocking up on snacks for your employees. The first is health. Not all the snacks need to be healthy, but there certainly should be a fair amount of these. While you don’t want hungry employees, you also don’t want people experiencing a mad sugar rush.
These healthy snacks can be fruit or even nuts. Anything that is not loaded with sugar will do. The second consideration is what is interesting. People can get bored of the same things every day so maybe set aside a specific day in the week or month where the snacks are changed up a bit. There can even be a sharing day where people bring in food from home which they can share with others in the office. The last thing to consider is that there must be something for everyone.
If there are a couple of vegans in the office, then they should be catered for. Those with religious dietary requirements must not be left to fend for themselves. There is also the question of allergies. All of this information should be gathered prior to the purchase of any snack. The snacks should be for everyone to enjoy, not a select few.