Employee benefits are one of the best tools you have to attract top talent. These benefits can come in many different forms, such as salaries, health insurance, travel reimbursements and more. However, one employee benefit that has been growing in popularity in recent years is the free or subsidized meal program. You can invest in this particular benefit by offering on-site meals to employees for free or at a reduced cost. Some employers are even providing gourmet meals in a designated employee cafeteria, essentially eliminating the need for employees to bring a sack lunch to work or leave the building for meals.
Wondering if you should offer complementary or subsidized meals to your employees? Here are a few of the benefits to help you in the decision making process.
1. A chance to attract better employees.
When your company offers free employee meals as a benefit of employment, your job openings automatically become more appealing to candidates looking for a new place to work. Job candidates will know that they are able to save time and money when they choose to work for your company, which sets you apart from the competition. This benefit is even more noticeable when the food you offer is known for being both nutritious and tasty. Potential employees are more likely to be attracted to a company with a cafeteria that serves gourmet food than one that distributes boxed lunches containing pre-packaged food items.
2. Improved morale among employees.
When employees have access to free food on site, the International Labour Organization reports that they are more likely to feel positively about the workplace, especially if they are enjoying the food. Not only are they able to have food that tastes good and meets their nutritional needs without paying as much, but they can also remain on the premises during meals, which is much more convenient. In addition, Fast Company reports that when employees are able to eat together on site, they develop a stronger sense of community, better engagement and higher levels of collaboration.
3. Better employee health.
One of the potential benefits of offering employee meals is related to the overall health of your workers. When you offer on-site meals, you have the opportunity to compare different food service companies and select the company that provides the most value. Once you have selected a food service provider, you can help ensure that your employees have access to food that not only tastes good, but is also healthier for them. Over time, studies have shown that this can improve the health of your employees, which reduces sick days and healthcare expenses.
4. Less employee downtime.
If your employees are paid a salary instead of an hourly wage, offering on-site food options is even more beneficial. Because food is available at work, employees are less likely to leave the building to eat, especially if the food available is appealing. Employees who eat in the office cafeteria spend less time traveling back and forth, which means that they have more time to focus on their jobs. This can enhance productivity significantly, saving your company money in the long run.
5. Better focus among employees.
When employees don't have easy access to meals, they often rely on pre-packaged items they can bring to work and eat quickly or fast food they can grab in a hurry. Alternatively, some employees may simply choose not to eat at all. All of these options cause employees to feel sluggish, making it difficult for them to focus on their work. Eating a balanced, nutritious meal, however, improves employee focus and reduces the chances of errors, poor productivity and other related problems.
These are just a few of the many benefits of offering your employees meals for free or at a reduced price. However, you won't be able to fully enjoy these benefits without offering high quality foods. If you choose to invest in this particular employee benefit, be sure to select a food service provider that offers healthy, delicious meals your employees will want to eat.