A growing number of companies have chosen to raise low employee morale by providing their employees with free meals, often on a daily basis.
Such a move can boost a sense of community among employees and create an overall fun environment.
A USA study found that although 56 percent of employees were satisfied with their jobs, the number went up to sixty-seven percent when provided with free meals. Free company meals also boost employee productivity.
A Sense of Community
The New York Times reports that about half of American adults eat lunch alone.
Office workers are particularly keen on eating in solitude.
According to the Times study, sixty-two percent of professionals eat lunch at their desks, which social scientists call "desktop dining."
Free meals, however, encourage employees to interact, which can promote a sense of team spirit. Moreover, this camaraderie often results in meaningful friendships.
Research also shows that unhealthy eating can lead to lower employee productivity.
In fact, one study found that 66 percent of employees with an unhealthy diet experienced lower productivity than those who ate fruits, vegetables and grains.
Overall, lower productivity was higher among 39-year-olds more than those 60 and older.
Free Food Can Attract a Job Applicant
Online delivery and takeout service Seamless surveyed 1200 employees of companies with 20 employees or more and found that, if offered a free lunch, more than half would be more inclined to accept a job offer.
Companies in Silicon Valley are always scrambling for talent, so they frequently offer free meals to attract potential hires.
Free Meals Can Raise Employees' Spirits
In the Seamless study, 60 percent said that free meals in the office "would make them feel more valued and appreciated."
Employers provide free meals as a way of rewarding job performance.
Surveys show a link between employee recognition and job satisfaction.
Employees feel grateful that their bosses acknowledge their contributions to their company, so they reciprocate by becoming even more productive.
Happy Equals More Productive
A body of literature supports the view that free meals at work make employees happy, and that happiness increases productivity.
A 2009 study by Isen and Reeve found that happier employees tended to allocate more of their time to less interesting or mundane tasks.
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