Make lunch breaks count

Do your employees lunch at their desks? Do some not think about a meal before 3pm because they’re caught up in to-do-lists? If this sounds like your company, it’s about time to make amends and make lunch breaks count.

Part of the employee engagement and happiness puzzle is ensuring employees have a good work life balance. Hardworking employees find it easy to develop a culture where they believe success is putting the hours in.Whereas this may be the case on some projects, don’t let your most talented employees fall into the trap of working every office-opening hour and burn themselves out.

It’s important to step away from desks and run personal errands during a working day, or have lunch out with a colleague to chat about things other than work. This type of balance will make employees feel happy, get a sense of fulfilment with their working and personal life, but also make them more productive when they do come back to their desk.

The founders of National Make Lunch Count Day claim we have FOLO – fear of lunching out. According to them encouraging employees to take lunch, a break, a short walk, anything that helps them enjoy their well-deserved lunch break, will lead to happier, healthier and more productive employees. Here’s a few ideas to help you get your employees to make their lunch break count.

1. Turn emails off for one hour

Emails suck us in. Even if we have all intentions to go to lunch, an email can drop into our inbox pinning us to our desks for longer. Make employees take a break by having a rule that no internal emails can be sent or responded to between the hours of 12.30pm and 1.30pm.

Did we hear you gasp “a whole hour”? Ok, so for some businesses this might be the most important time of the day to respond to customer enquiries. If this is the case, have a rota each week for the lunch hour. Employees will be happy to cover lunch breaks if they get a chance to have an hour off the next day.

2. Treat everyone to lunch

It doesn’t need to be often, but treating your team to lunch just once a quarter could have a big impact

For example, why not treat your employees to a £10 Voucher to spend at venue of their choice such as ASK Italian, Jamie’s Italian, Nando’s, Pizza Hut or YO! Sushi to name a few. Or if that’s pushing the budget too much, a Costa or Starbucks coffee on the company would still make your employees love you that little more.

A one-off perk, such as lunch, is sure to boost morale, especially if it is a surprise reward.

Employees will feel valued, enjoy the excuse to get out of the office, and be happy to get their heads down when they get back to their desk after some fresh air.

3. Create a lunch club

If your offices aren’t in close proximity to lunching locations, you could put on aweekly Lunch Club.

Set up the staff room and breakout areas with drinks and snacks on one day each week to encourage employees to step away from their desk and lunch with peers.

Put the radio on to create a relaxed atmosphere, or get the company’s snooker table or boardgames out. The idea is to get employees to sit down with peers, talk over a bite to eat, and have a good time.

Make sure senior members of the team get involved too. A lunching culture has to be nurtured from the top.

Employees will enjoy the perk and feel good that you, their employer, is encouraging them to step away from their workload. Breakout sessions like these often give a boost to the atmosphere and employees come back to their desk buzzing with new ideas.

4. Weekly lunch rewards

Perhaps you have a Reward Points Scheme and are looking ways to inject new life into it? Why not introduce a weekly lunch reward where top performers get taken out for lunch on Fridays.

Every Friday morning, review which employees have earned the most points for good work that week and treat them to lunch out of the office, all together, on that day.

Lunch doesn’t have to be expensive, a trip to the local café or a pizza restaurant is enough to feel rewarding and thanked.

Make the reward span across all departments of the business. It’ll mean the people going out
for lunch will connect with peers they might not usually talk to on a daily basis. Not only will your employees feel rewarded, but it’ll help them bond and learn about other areas of the business too. A win for them and a win for you.

Like the sound of these ideas but need support to implement them? Contact our team of Reward Experts and we’ll help you make it happen.