Lunchtime is an essential part of the day. You get some time off from your roles and responsibilities, and get to catch up with your fellow employees, while at the same time rest and restore your energy. Â Many companies are also concerned what employees eat during their lunchtime, hence they provide catered meals in their campus. Various companies like Google, Facebook, Dreamworks, Apple, etc provide free lunches on a regular basis. This brings up the questions whether all or most companies in general should provide free lunches in their offices or not?
For the company there are tax benefits
The money businesses invest on providing lunch can often be tax deductible. There areÂ certain requirementsÂ that need to be met, but in general, when an employer provides lunch, snacks, and/or drinks to their employees on their premises, these costs can be fully deducted. It doesnÂ’t even count as employee income for tax purposes. This could be considered as an investment towards employee morale. Which brings us to our second point.
Increased employee morale
Any company that provides free lunch to their employees procures higher satisfaction rating. This has a direct positive impact on employeeÂ’s productivity, which is beneficial for your companyÂ’s operations. It also sets a benchmark for other companies. This added perk would attract more qualified individuals with a desire to work with your firm. This is especially crucial when working in a fiercely competitive market.
Increase in overall productivity
As mentioned above, a happy employee will be more productive, and free lunches can have a more direct impact on employee engagement. Instead of leaving work and spending time waiting in the queue for food, you can have the freedom of eating in your office premises, which will give you time to talk business if needed, or simply catch up with each other’s daily lives.Â Many studies showÂ that eating healthier food leads to more productivity, saves time and increases concentration when workers are at their desks.
Stronger Connections Between Employees
If employees from different departments sit down in the same place to eat every day; this will help form a stronger, more positive connection with each other.Â Interactions with other employees and with managementÂ are easier to come by in this setting, and mealtime conversations lead to connections between colleagues who otherwise wouldnÂ’t interact. This intercompany networking can help foster creativity and may lead to positive outcomes for the organization.
When your employees are healthy, they may rarely fall sick and in turn the business gets benefitted. Â They miss fewer days, have better productivity, and health insurance costs are lower. This means when you provide healthy meals it can be a win-win situation for you and your staff. The option of a square meal for your employees can make a significant difference in their overall health.
It is true that providing employees with lunch on a regular basis can be costly, but the benefits that follow cannot be measured in monetary terms. It seems to be becoming a standard in most top companies of the world.
While there are downsides of providing free meals, as employees then tend to become lethargic when it comes to physical work, such as walking. When they know that they merely have to go to the next door for their meals, they become habituated to walk less, and sooner or later become victims of obesity. Providing free lunch to your employees has both its pros and cons. So, before you jump onto any conclusion, be sure that you evaluate the pros and cons, and accordingly outline a plan that benefits you, your employees and the business as a whole.