How Sharing a Meal Brings Your Office Together
If food brings our families together and helps us build stronger relationships then why should our offices be any different?
For centuries and across cultures, a meal presents an opportune time to connect with those in our community - friends, family, co-workers and even new acquaintances.
As important as these connections are in our personal lives, they are equally important in our daily working lives, particularly given the fact that many of us spend more time with co-workers than with our own families.
In an increasingly fragmented work environment, taking a break to share a meal with co-workers would allow us to connect on a much more personal level than the email, Slack and text messaging that dominate our work cultures.
With more than 40 hours spent together each week wouldn’t it be nice to have closer connections and relationships with your colleagues? It’s no surprise that when people have friendly relationships with colleagues, their personal happiness and job satisfaction also improve.
Whether it be breakfast, lunch or dinner, one of the quickest and most enjoyable ways to foster existing relationships and establish new connections with new co-workers is over food. Forget the ropes course and trust falls. Simply breaking bread with colleagues is one of the best team building exercises available.
The objective is to share an experience together where everyone can relax a little bit, talk about the things that interest and excite them - hobbies, family, movies, music - and connect on a human level. It won’t take long for the group to start gelling as they realize that they have much in common.
Most people will leave the meal with not only a full stomach but also a greater feeling of happiness having spent quality time with their coworkers talking about the various things that interest them. These are the sorts of experiences that just can’t happen through a computer or text exchange.
A welcome byproduct of sharing meals in the workplace is increased productivity and performance.
Cornell University professors studied exactly this but in the high-stakes world of a large city’s fire department where they analyzed 50 different firehouses over the course of 15 months.
“Eating together is a more intimate act than looking over an Excel spreadsheet together. That intimacy spills back over into work,” said the study’s author, Kevin Kniffin, visiting assistant professor in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management.
Based on the responses of 395 supervisors, the study found that those platoons who shared a meal together also rated higher in terms of their team’s performance. On the flip side, those platoons who ate together less frequently received lower ratings for their team’s performance.
“From an evolutionary anthropology perspective, eating together has a long, primal tradition as a kind of social glue. That seems to continue in today’s workplaces,” Kiffin continued.
In addition to the company meal being a good team-building exercise, there are additional benefits as well. For instance, what you eat also significantly contributes to improving your brain function, mood and productivity. Through the consumption of high-quality meals, you and your group will have the energy and mental clarity to carry you through the second half of your day, and beyond.
There are also the benefits of getting up from your desk and taking a much-needed break from the anxiety-producing computer and the constant stream of notifications and alerts that bombard us throughout the day.
The types of restaurants that create these high-quality meals are the ones you’ll find on the Spork Bytes menu. The list of local restaurants Spork Bytes has partnered with use only the best ingredients and prepare each meal fresh so the entire office can enjoy a delicious meal together without any of the hassles - we handle all of the logistics in ordering, delivering and setting up food for your group so you don't have to worry about a thing.
The next time you’re looking to gather your group around good food give Spork Bytes a try. We know you’ll be impressed and we won’t even take credit for the increased productivity and happiness in the office!