There are more reasons to provide food and drink in the office than there are reasons against it.
Ever get the munchies in the midst of a brainstorming session? That’s when a quick snack could come in handy.
Or what about when you’re at your desk come 3:59 pm. Ever think about grabbing a cold beer to pull you through the last of your dreaded tasks for the day?
Food and drink encourage employees to spend less time out buying food and more time on things that matter.
It doesn’t have to be fancy nor does it have to make your company’s wallet cry tears of regret. If you’re not a big company like Google with money to hire in-house chefs to serve full-blown meals, there are ways around spending so much on food and drinks.
Here are some things to consider when you’re debating on lunch options for the company.
Why In-House Beverages Became Common
Why did offices start offering beverages in the office, to begin with? There must be a reason why it has become so common to offer something as simple as free water in the workplace, right?
Nowadays it’s a common courtesy to offer employees simple pleasures like soft drinks, tea, coffee, etc.
There’s a reason for everything and for workplace beverages, that reason is a water cooler. Yup, we have the water cooler to thank for changing the way Americans take their breaks.
At the time of invention, safe drinking water was not common so the water cooler was a way to remedy this issue. It provided purified, chilled water that eventually made its way into offices across corporate America.
Its design was simple, efficient, and made it easy to give a simple refreshment to people of the workplace.
The water cooler became a prime location for employees to talk to one another. Hence where the term ‘water cooler talk’ originated from.
It became synonymous with not only its function but what it represented: an actual break.
Evolving from this point, fancier more high-tech devices come around. Throw not only heated water into the mix but also vending machines and coffee.
And now you’ve got a revolutionized ideology of what it means to take a lunch break.
Ever since, businesses have come to see the benefit in offering a supplement to breaks. Increased productivity, less time outside of the company, and more time to socialize.
Reasons to Include Snacks & Beverages in the Office
We all get the munchies. You’ve been there!
If that 10 am meeting left you physically drained but it’s too early to take a lunch, grabbing something quick can be a big help.
Now we can’t speak for the entire workforce population. Yet, we can speak for a good amount of those behind the desk who would appreciate something to quell any cravings.
Hey, it’s normal, we all need brain food to keep our bodies functioning and to keep ourselves mentally sane.
Plus, who doesn’t love free snacks and beverages?
Now there are two very powerful words to keep in mind. These are the only words you need to know if you want to get everyone’s ears to perk up and that’s ‘free coffee’.
Yes, people love free stuff in general. The more useless it is the better.
However, coffee is one free thing that most will agree is better than cheap keychains or light up trinkets. It’s the universal work drink for corporate offices across the nation.
One study even shows that 37% of Americans prefer free daily coffee over an annual holiday party.
Holding in-house snacks and beverages besides coffee says several things about who you are in the eyes of your employees. Their thoughts can range from ‘Wow they care’ to ‘Wow they actually know their employees exist.’
The takeaway here? Having in-house snacks and beverages are a way for the company to show their employees that they care! Ultimately it’s a way to keep them engaged.
They’re a way to acknowledge their hard work and acknowledge that employees have unmet needs.
In-house snacks and beverages aren’t solely for your employees benefit either.
If you’re trying to make a good impression and be courteous to visitors, you want to offer them refreshments.
This can be helpful in swaying others towards your business. Offer someone a hot cup of coffee and they will automatically hold your company in a higher regard.
Increased Productivity & A Positive Work Environment
Giving employees the option to stay within the company minimizes the time spent venturing out to buy food as well. That means more time spent getting things done.
Offering healthy options can also influence your employees to create a routine with a healthy diet in mind.
Remember we mentioned something about water cooler talk? It’s that comfortable space that allows people to open up and communicate with each other.
Having a designated area for drinks and snacks is a great way to socialize with coworkers.
It creates an open environment perfect for fostering a cross-functional working culture. If people genuinely enjoy the work that they do then they’re going to want to talk about it with others that they work with.
Is There a Reason to NOT Include Snacks & Beverages in the Office?
OK, you might be thinking about what else to add to your break room or how to improve upon what you already offer.
If you’re still on the fence about whether to include alcoholic beverages as an option, here are some things to keep in mind:
1. Moderate (and we stress moderate) alcohol intake can improve problem solving and creativity.
2. Alcohol serves as a way to release the tension in your body and offers an easy way to relax.
3. There are some mild health benefits to mild alcohol consumption, wine in particular. This includes lowered cholesterol and reduced risk of heart disease.
4. In can help in new talent recruitment. This is the case for many new startups or those hiring young talent. It sparks interest in the company.
5. It’s a way to help people connect with each other. Now you’ve got cooler talk turned into booze banter.
1. Even when increasing creativity, alcohol will impair a person’s ability to reason or focus.
2. Offering alcohol in the office is not a good idea if you’ve got some people in the team that is trying to remain sober.
3. Issues may arise if alcohol is inhibiting employees from getting work done or if they develop unhealthy habits.
4. Other legal issues may arise of the employee is involved in an accident after consuming alcohol.
If you’re still not convinced and you decide to exclude alcohol in the office, no big deal. There are other healthy options that you can offer like coffee, tea, or other soft drinks that people will enjoy just as much.
If the budget is what you’re worried about, think about it this way. Spending money on snacks and beverages is like an investment.
Your investing your time and money for your employees. The company gains as much as your employees do.
Let us remind you that employees are a company’s greatest asset. Knowledge is power and a person’s knowledge won’t matter if starvation is constantly kills their train of thought.
In the short-term, it might cost more to spend on office beverages. But in the long-term, productivity and satisfaction improves with the smallest of benefits like coffee.
How to Go About Stocking Your Office
First, why are you choosing to bring in beverages?
Is it simply to please your employees? Or are you also doing it to compete with every other company that’s providing free food and drinks?
Both reasons are perfectly plausible but remember there are smart ways to go about it.
If you really want to go above and beyond for your employees (and for yourself as well!) think about different ways to stock your office. Find a way to please the majority of your employees while also keeping costs at a minimum.
It’s as Simple as Asking a Question!
Who are your employees?
What if most of them were on their 6th month of sobriety. Are you going to bring in booze, right under their nose to tempt them?
Others need to maintain a certain diet either because they’re diabetic, allergic to dairy, etc.
Seeing that a company offers snacks in line with their dietary restrictions is good for the person, but good for the company too. They earn major brownie points if they manage to please even the religious vegan of the team with their lunch options.
An idea here is to email a survey to the rest of the company and ask everyone’s opinion on what they want to see in the office.
Do they want something a little more health conscious? Or would they prefer high quality coffee over some costlier options that you were originally going to order?
Perhaps bringing in a beer keg would be more cost-effective if you find that most of your employees are always itching for a cold one.
Create a schedule for ordering food and beverage. Creating consistency is key to maintaining a steady workflow routine.
God forbid the company ever run out of everyone’s favorite brand of tea or coffee.
Find a provider that offers enough food and drinks to meet everyone’s needs in the office. Costco is a great example.
Ensure they allow for repeat orders, and you never have to worry about running out of snacks or drinks!
Recognize that there are inexpensive ways to stock your office. Food and drink service don’t have to be complicated.
Don’t consider food and beverage for the office as an unnecessary luxury. Though some companies may make it seem like a luxury, it doesn’t have to cost like one.
Lunch is an important part of the day and not only for nutritious reasons. It’s a mental break!
It’s an employees time away from work to unwind, power nap in the corner or down a few coffees before trudging back to their computer.
Set aside a reasonable budget, look into your options, and consider the benefits of snacks and drinks in the office.
You don’t need to serve organic lemon wedges alongside your beers. But when mints are no longer cutting it, think about what simple snacks and drinks can do for balancing a person’s work environment.
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When you find yourself in need of wine, coffee, kombucha, tea, beer, or snacks for your office or event, shoot us a message!
This article was brought to you by Office Libations, your San Francisco Bay Area office coffee, keg delivery, and snack service. Delivering top local brands and kegs of cold brew coffee, kombucha, beer, and wine.