Most offices have a lunchroom. Whether it’s a dedicated cafeteria or just a small corner at the back with a microwave and kettle, more companies are recognising the benefits of providing lunchroom facilities for their employees.

Food for thought: 5 reasons to include a lunchroom in the office

An office lunchroom can improve work productivity and make lunch times more efficient in several ways.

Convenience

One of the strongest arguments for including a lunchroom at work is the amount of time it can save for employees taking lunch breaks. When an employee only has an hour (sometimes less) to leave work, order and eat a meal, and return to work, they are more likely to rush their meal and sometimes, despite the rush, they are late in returning to work. With a lunchroom on the premises, employees can eat at their own pace and still make it back to work on time. This means that the second part of their work day is more productive as they aren’t feeling harried or grumpy from a rushed lunch. The convenience of having lunch at work also means that employees who need to run errands during their lunch break are able to with time to still eat.

Promotes food-less work stations

Eating at a work desk has negative effects on productivity and concentration. Some employees, whether by choice or imposing work deadlines, end up eating a packed lunch at their desk while they work. The subsequent sounds and smells can distract other employees, as well as create a mess around the desk. Crumbs and coffee stains, as well as empty mugs and food packages, create a cluttered, less productive work area and can lead to ruined paperwork and dirty desks. With a lunchroom nearby, even the busiest employees can sit down at a lunch table to eat before returning to their tasks.

Promotes better health and nutrition

Another effect of a rushed lunch break is that employees tend to choose the fastest food options to return to work in time. Fast food and takeaway orders are often unhealthy, and a quick snack from the convenience store is not wholesome or filling. Employees who pack their own lunches at home can choose healthier options, but a pre-cooked meal is usually cold by lunchtime, and morning rushes usually result in plain sandwiches for lunch anyway. Larger companies that offer a stocked cafeteria at work can promote healthier, more nutritious meals through their menu, affording employees the energy- and brain-boosting food they need for a productive work day. Even small lunchrooms can encourage employees to pack better food for work that can be reheated in a microwave and eaten with proper utensils.

Offers a healthier break from work

A lunch break is not just about getting food; it allows employees to step away from their work and take a mental and physical break. Adequate breaks between tasks can boost energy, concentration and motivation, relieving the stress and tension of the work day. Whether an employee prefers to use their lunch break to escape the hustle of the office in a quiet corner or restores their energy and motivation by socialising with colleagues, a dedicated lunchroom offers the space to do so. When an employee is able to relax and recoup during lunch, they can return to work more refreshed and motivated for the rest of the day.

Provides a more natural space for colleague interaction

A lunchroom is a better space for work interactions than the office. Employees who prefer working in silence are disturbed by those who work and chat at the same time. A lunchroom affords the chatterboxes a more appropriate time and place to work off their verbal energy without interfering with work flow. Social interactions can improve office morale and relationships but can be detrimental when it is forced over a cubicle wall. In a lunchroom, employees can have more natural conversations that better promote healthy relationships.

 A lunchroom benefits the business as a whole

While it seems that a lunchroom offers the greatest advantages for employees through convenience and healthier break times, these benefits are passed on through the employees to the rest of the company. Employees who boost their energy, concentration and morale through the use of a lunchroom perform better, resulting in higher quality work, more satisfied employees and an all-round better work environment.

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