We are social beings who need to bond with other human beings to perform at our maximum potential. Day in and day out we move through the same motions of the day - check into work, get work done, take a break, get back to work again, check out to leave. But, there are only a few moments in the day where we get the opportunity to destress, & connect with our colleagues - The Lunch Break.
Lunchtime these days has been reduced to mindlessly stuffing food while consuming content. Most times alone since people are too busy to coordinate and take time out even to eat their food in peace. But, the power of having a meal should never be underestimated.
Haven’t you heard
“The office that eats 2gethr, stays and succeeds 2gethr”
Interestingly, Korea & Japan have a tradition of “Team Dinners” to celebrate achievements by the company or their employees. They also have dinners sponsored by the company to welcome new joiners that help in bringing the teams closer & make them more loyal to the company. This familial bond created seeps into the workspace & increases the performance of the team.
Kevin Kniffin, a professor in Cornell's Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, said eating together is a more intimate task than just looking over an Excel spreadsheet, & that intimacy spills over into work. "From an evolutionary anthropology perspective, eating together has a long, primal tradition as a kind of social glue," Kniffin observed. "That seems to continue in today's workplaces."
If you still need some convincing to adopt this at your own workplace, check out some of the many tangible benefits that employees and employers alike have experienced after setting the tradition of eating together.
Benefits of eating lunch together at work
While it may be tempting to eat at your desk and catch up on your work or even your social media scrolling, there are some good reasons to hang out at the group table:
1. Take a chill pill:- Constantly being in "worker bee" mode, makes you much more susceptible to burn-out. You do better work when you focus on work when working and chilling out when not working.
2. Get to know your co-workers better:- If you only talk to your co-workers about work, you won't get to know them. Lunchtime is the perfect time to trade chitchat about families, hobbies, and interests.
3. Build connections over food:- Personal connections make working together not only more pleasant but easier and more productive.
4. It's great for networking:- Getting to meet new people, especially from across different teams can happen over lunch in the common dining area. The key is to stick to non-work topics for the most part while getting to know new people.
5. Enjoying a meal is more enjoyable with others:- Humans have always bonded over food. We may have evolved in many other ways, but food will always be one thing that brings us together. Organizing a meal in itself is a great way to bond and strengthen relationships. Eating food together is a great way to relax and an opportunity to talk about the good and bad of the day. Your lunch break is the perfect time to have a good giggle with your colleagues and friends. They put those work woes into perspective and give you the outlet you need to destress, offload and go back to work feeling fresh, focused, and fired up.
6. Sparks of ideas fly when you are relaxed:- Having a meal with your colleagues can also help with that sudden inspiration or out-of-the-box idea. Just look at the few examples
- Lionel Messi's First Contract - Haste makes waste, Barcelona's scouting director wrote the superstar's first contract on a napkin while having a meal together because he didn't want to lose him.
- The Gettysburg Address - A short but powerful speech by Abraham Lincoln was written on a napkin while having a meal.
- Pixar - One of the best movie studios for animated movies, created by Steve Jobs himself started over a meal. The first characters for Toy Story were jotted down on a piece of napkin.
In conclusion, we will leave you with this:
Coworkers who share lunch have higher morale & productivity.
The friendly tone set when colleagues eat together can support more intense conversations later in the day. In eating solo, workers miss out on the benefits of camaraderie, increased cooperation, & performance. They also tend to be less satisfied at work.
So, go now and grab that meal with your co-workers, and discover the power of eating together as a community.