Two thirds of people said receiving food or vouchers for meals made them feel valued as an employee, according to a recent survey from Seamless, a branch of a company that provides food for offices.
The number of workers getting regular free lunches has doubled since last year, from five per cent to 11%, and 34% provide food at special occasions.
Is free food the way to go to win over employees? It probably can’t hurt, with a few considerations, according to HR blogger Suzanne Lucas.
“One thing to keep in mind, though, is allergies and dietary restrictions,” she warned. “While you may not be able to please all your employees all the time, consistently leaving out a particular person or group can build animosity.”
Weekly pizza might make the gluten intolerant employees feel resentful – likewise people with religious restrictions on their food aren’t going to appreciate non-halal or kosher food being enjoyed by their colleagues. Mix it up so even if someone can’t enjoy the food one week, they’ll be able to take part the next.
The one perk that was more desirable than free food, according to the survey, was a gym membership, - if you’re offering weekly pizza your team might appreciate having their calorie-burning efforts subsidized, too.
Google famously offers free lunches to employees, but they’ve got nothing on web aggregation site StumbleUpon, which has free breakfast, lunch and snacks – as well as gym equipment on site.
Don’t tell employees there’s no such thing as a free lunch – 60% would disagree with you.