#HR Trends and Insights

5 reasons why you should implement a meal benefits program

April 12, 2023

Will meal benefits really increase employee productivity? The answer is yes. There are 5 reasons why you should implement a program immediately for your employees.

But first, there are many ways to provide meal benefits. From an onsite cafeteria to a rotating roster of food delivery from local, high nutrition eateries to food stipends.

Let’s dive into the data and see why the simple act of helping your employees eat can do wonders for productivity.

  1. On-site cafeterias help employees avoid burnout

If you’re hungry, feeling down, irritable, experiencing brain fog; or suffering from food insecurity and health challenges, you won’t be operating at full throttle. Put simply, you won’t be productive at work.

Eating a healthy lunch helps support you in very practical ways. For example, a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine not only found that employees who had access to an onsite cafeteria were less likely to experience burnout, but that they had better dietary habits, lower levels of stress, and higher job satisfaction.

Another study conducted by the National Business Group on Health found that companies who provided on-site food services saw a 25% increase in employee satisfaction.

2. Mandated lunch breaks do wonders for work-life balance

According to a study by Tork, 94% of employees feel happier when they can take a lunch break during the workday.

The study also found that employees who take a lunch break were more likely to have higher job satisfaction and better work-life balance. This translates to you having a higher retention rate.

Another study found that employees who take regular lunch breaks experience less fatigue and are more engaged in their work.

3. Eating together can lead to better job performance

A Cornell University study found that firefighter platoons who ate meals together had better group job performance compared with teams who dined alone.

Though the study was done specifically for fire stations, it can be translated to any type of team environment.

As the study’s author, Kevin Kniffin, put it:

“Eating together is a more intimate act than looking over an Excel spreadsheet together. That intimacy spills back over into work. From an evolutionary anthropology perspective, eating together has a long, primal tradition as a kind of social glue. That seems to continue in today’s workplaces.”

He goes on to say employers would do well to consider investing in onsite cafeterias to improve employee performance.

4. It may be a great incentive for “Return to Office”

If you’re going to keep paying rent for your office space, you may as well make it worth returning to.

Providing nutritious meals, vegetarian, gluten-free, or halal options as a perk of employment is an excellent way to show your team that you care for their well-being.

There is a lot of data that shows working from home increases productivity. If you want to see people in office again, establishing easy access to food (which is what people have at home) is a great start.

5. Cafeteria plans save you money and increase employee output

Research has shown that companies with on-site cafeterias can save money in the long run by improving employee productivity and reducing the amount of time employees spend off-site seeking food.

How much? According to one study, companies saw an average of 11% higher revenue per employee and 28% higher shareholder returns.

That same study found that companies with meal programs had lower absenteeism rates, lower healthcare costs, and lower employee turnover.

Providing meals can increase employee productivity by eliminating the need to leave the office midday to find food. It also helps reduce stress and increases job satisfaction by providing a convenient and healthy meal options.

Offering meal benefits is a budget-friendly solution to boosting employee productivity & one Edenred can help you set up easily and quickly.

Schedule a meeting with us today so you can learn more about our meal benefits programs and how you can get started.

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