Sharon Brown, national operations director at Autograph – Interserve’s catering brand talks with FMJ about the benefits to business productivity by adapting workplace dining areas and promoting healthier eating at work.
Understanding and responding to the needs of employees in the workplace is vital to helping businesses attract and retain the best talent, as well as supporting people to achieve their best at work. Learning from consumer-facing industries, there are some simple steps that facilities and catering teams can take to ensure that their food offering and dining environments meet employees’ expectations and helps them stay healthy and engaged.
Over the past two years Interserve has been looking at how the workplace experience can be used to boost employee and business performance. What we’ve found is the importance of recognising that, at the most simplistic level, an employee is another customer and the workplace experience should be built around their needs.
The same is true with catering and healthy eating. Employee demands and desires are being informed and driven by changes on the high street so we need to take a similar approach at work, treating them as ‘workplace consumers’.
Using food to support performance
Businesses and facilities teams have a duty of care to provide healthy catering options for their employees. Just as investing in healthcare support can underpin business success by reducing absenteeism and helping employees to stay alert, fit and productive, it also makes commercial sense to ensure your workforce is eating well.
Eating is as much a social activity as a dietary one and, managed in the right way, it can play an important role in driving desired organisational changes. Our workplace research has shown great performance benefits that come from promoting friendships at work, supporting cross-team working and knowledge sharing, and generally promoting greater employee happiness. Dining areas can be a good starting point for companies looking to boost social cohesion as an important place for people to meet new colleagues.
If this isn’t happening in your workplace already, what barriers could be preventing it? Read the full article in FMJ’s latest issue here page 26 to find out more.
Workplace experience research
Interserve is approaching the end of its two-year research project on workplace experiences: The Science Series which looks at the science behind designing, creating, maintaining and evolving work spaces that support employee productivity. Read our reports here.