Keeping your office snack game on point is an employee wellness perk that's easy to overlook. But make no mistake—it's a simple detail that appears to be a game changer where employee happiness and morale are concerned.
A 2015 survey conducted by grocery service Peapod makes a pretty strong case for offering free snacks in the workplace. Employees who had access to complimentary snacks or beverages in the office reported being happier at work. It was an especially important benefit for millennial workers.
The benefits of providing office snacks may be something you have already learned firsthand. The average company spends over $14,800 per month on snacks and drinks for the office—with 59% managing their snack program themselves, according to research by catering company ZeroCater.
This begs one obvious question: Are you presenting your office snacks so that they optimize all the benefits and cut down on waste?
Here are great tips to organize the snacks and beverages in your office.
Break it up by mood
Office snacks can be used to encourage employees to step away from their workspace for a quick timeout. MIT researchers say that taking regular breaks can help boost productivity and refresh your focus. Use your office snacks to create natural opportunities for employees to sneak away, connect with one another, and get recentered.
Consider breaking up your snacks and beverages in a way that sets different social tones throughout the office. One area, for example, can serve as the office "coffee shop" that's earmarked for cups of joe, tea and cafe-style snacks complete with high-top tables and subtle music. It establishes a warm setting that people will naturally gravitate toward when in need of a break or want to collaborate with co-workers.
Another section of the office could be set aside for a quick grab-and-go snack bar. Think of it as the spot to catch a bite to bring back to your desk when in need of a midday boost. The idea is to showcase your snacks so that they help shift your mindset. This may be why experts tell us it's wise to think in terms of different zones when considering office design.
Make healthy options more appealing
Whether your snacks are on display in a cozy break room or office bistro, one detail reigns supreme—you want healthy options front and center. There's no shortage of research linking junk food to sluggishness and fatigue; traits that definitely won't help your employees feel their best. Keep sugar crashes at bay by opting for healthy snacks to fuel your team.
This has everything to do with accessibility. Google carried out an interesting experiment where they presented M&Ms in opaque jars, while putting healthy snacks, such as dried fruit, on display in see-through containers. Over the seven weeks that followed, employees ate 3.1 million fewer calories from M&Ms.
The key takeaway is to organize your office snacks to promote healthy eating and, in turn, increase well-being and productivity.
Don't forget about your beverage station
Food snacks are only one side of the coin. Your office beverage options are the other. When organizing your drink station, take the time to think about ambiance. Investing in ceramic coffee mugs, for instance, isn't just better for the environment—it also creates an at-home vibe in the office that encourages workers to come together, pour a cup and stay a while. On top of that, proper cups and glassware are part of the overall design aesthetic of your office.
And while they do require an upfront spend, it's cheaper in the long run than ordering paper cups again and again. This goes hand in hand with environmental waste, which happens to be very important to employees; particularly millennials. In fact, most workers in this camp would actually take a pay cut if it meant working for an environmentally responsible company.
Think beyond paper cups, like switching from single-use coffee pods to fresh-brewed pots. Within a decade of Keurig launching its now-famous K-Cups, enough of them were sold to circle the earth 10 times. That's a lot of waste.
Give the people what they want
The most important aspect of organizing your snacks is buying what your coworkers really want! Consider sending out periodic surveys to see what snacks are in demand and if there are any worthwhile options that haven't hit your radar yet. Bring your employees into the conversation.
No matter how your office snacks are organized, set the expectation that keeping things tidy is a group effort that requires all hands on deck. Stock snack areas with eco-friendly cleaning products to make it as seamless as possible. It's a simple task that most would agree is a fair trade-off for having free (and tasty) goodies in the office.