One of the big reasons many companies provide food for their employees is to create ‘intentional collisions’ between people who might otherwise not connect. I saw it first hand when I was at Atlassian, come lunch time and people from all levels and buildings converge on the canteen and kitchen area. It’s a great way to get people talking and mingling and break down the silos business’ often have to deal with.
But what about the smaller businesses. Those who can’t afford to cater for all employees each day? There is a really powerful solution that won’t leave you out of pocket at all. Ban eating lunch at your desk. I recently heard a story about a financial services company who were desperate to get their employees to interact and intermingle more, the business was struggling to break down silo’s. They simply made a rule that no-one was allowed to eat at their desk. This meant that people would take their lunch down to the canteen and eat with one another. Often you would end up at a table with people you didn’t know, but by the end of lunch you had a new contact in a different business unit.
It’s a very simple workaround, with huge potential. More than just creating ‘intentional collisions’ it lets people switch off for a bit, take a break from staring at a screen, and interact with fellow employees.
Give it a try. You’ll see the benefits first hand.
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