As the saying goes, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. But when it comes to building team morale and improving workplace relationships, sharing lunch with your employees may be worth the cost.
In many companies, employees rarely share a meal or two with their managers. The average worker grabs lunch on the go or eats at their desk. Managers and higher-ups may eat together in the company cafeteria or go out to lunch with clients.
But what if employees and managers ate lunch together more often?
Reasons to Share More Meals With Your Employees
Sharing meals is a common practice in many cultures. In the United States, people see sharing meals as a way to bond with friends and family. But in some parts of the world, sharing meals is also a way to build business relationships.
There’s evidence that eating together can improve workplace relationships. According to a study, sharing meals within teams is significantly and positively associated with team performance. This means that the more employees and managers share meals, the better the team performs.
There are other reasons why sharing meals can improve workplace relationships, like the following:
It Builds Trust
When you share a meal with someone, you open yourself up to them. You’re letting them into your personal space and showing your team that you trust them. In turn, this can build trust between you and your employees.
It Encourages Communication
Sharing meals also encourages communication. When you’re eating together, there’s less barrier to conversation. This can create an environment where employees feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas.
It Helps You Get to Know Each Other
Eating together also lets you get to know your employees personally. You can learn about their families, hobbies, and interests. This can help you understand them better and build stronger relationships.
Use The Opportunity to Provide Feedback
Sharing lunch also allows you to show your appreciation for your employees’ hard work. A simple “thank you” can go a long way in making your employees feel valued, motivating them to work even harder in the future.
Lunchs are also a great opportunity to give employees informal performance reviews and provide feedback on their work. This feedback can an invaluable tool for helping employees improve their job performance and reach their full potential.
Have Fun With Your Team
Finally, sharing lunch with your team is a fun way to spend time together and build workplace relationships. When employees feel like they have good relationships with their co-workers, they’re more likely to enjoy coming to work and be more productive overall.
How To Make Team Lunches More Fun
If you’re interested in sharing more meals with your team but not sure where to start, here are a few ideas to spice up your lunch:
Have a Potluck
A Potluck is a great way to get employees involved and try new foods. Everybody gets get to bring their favorite dish to share, and you can all enjoy a variety of foods together. You can even have a contest for the best dish or the most unique dish.
Just make sure to ask everyone if they have a particular allergy or dietary restriction before the potluck so that you can accommodate everyone’s needs. If there is one person with a food allergy, it would be best to label all food items to ensure everyone knows what they can and cannot eat.
Try New Cuisines With the Team
If you and your team are adventurous eaters, why not try a new cuisine together? There are countless cuisines to choose from, so there’s sure to be something everyone will enjoy. You can even make it a learning experience by teaching each other about the different foods and customs associated with the cuisine.
For instance, instead of the usual American lunch of sandwiches and chips, you could have a Chinese-themed lunch with dim sums, Chinese noodles, and Hong Kong Fried Rice in a restaurant. This would be a great opportunity to learn about Chinese culture and cuisine while bonding with your team. You can find one that has a dining-in option to enjoy the meal in a restaurant together and a take-out option if you’re short on time. It helps to read reviews before choosing a restaurant to ensure your team will be safe and satiated at the end of each meal.
Have a Themed Lunch
If you want to have some fun with your team, why not have a themed lunch? This can be anything from a beach-themed lunch to a Halloween-themed lunch. You can dress up, decorate the office, and serve food that fits the theme. This is a great way to get everyone in the office involved and have some fun together.
When it comes to building team morale and improving workplace relationships, sharing lunch with your employees may be worth the cost. No matter what approach you take, sharing lunch with your team can be a great way to build relationships, improve communication, and have some fun. So why not give it a try? Your team will thank you for it.