An office lunch can be a great chance to catch up with coworkers, meet new colleagues, and exchange ideas. But it can be a little difficult to coordinate everyone’s schedules and ensure that everyone is satisfied with the food that’s provided.
Lunch doesn’t have to be this lonely, solitary part of the day in which everyone just eats silently at their respective desks. With some planning and strategy, you can make your office lunch a core part of your workplace culture and an absolute highlight of the week.
Select A Day
For your office lunch to be successful and memorable, you will want to choose a day of the week in which most of your colleagues can take at least an hour and a half to eat, relax, and schmooze together. Go through the master Google Calendar and allocate a day per week where everyone has 12 PM - 1 PM (or whichever works best for your company) blocked off for office lunch.
What To Eat
After you have chosen the day for your weekly office lunch, comes the really hard part: deciding on what to eat. If you work for a large company, it could be particularly tough to get everyone to get a consensus. Using delivery services like EAT Club, Foodsby, Postmates, and Freshly, your colleagues could individually order what they want.
The other option is that every week you ask on a Slack channel what type of food people prefer. Give everyone a handful of options and go with what the majority wants. It’s important to be mindful of dietary restrictions. Make sure colleagues who abide by gluten-free, vegan, Kosher, and Halal diets know they can order their own meals and will be reimbursed.
Potluck Style Lunch
You never know which one of your colleagues is secretly a fantastic cook. Though it could be a lot to ask your coworkers to bring home-cooked food every week, a potluck lunch could be a fun bonding opportunity every once in a while.
A few days before the potluck, create a Google Sheet and share it with your team. Have everyone confirm what they will bring and make sure there aren’t too many repetitive sides. There’s only so much bean dip a human can possibly eat.
Mixing Cliques During Team Lunches
Having a work bestfriend is great. A Gallup study showed that people are more engaged at their job when they have friends. However, there’s a fine line between encouraging workplace bonds and encouraging colleagues to merely perpetuate being cliquey.
Often, coworkers only become friends with people from their teams because they spend most of their time with them and since they are in the same department, have similar interests. These lunches can be a chance for everyone to bond and mix up the cliques. In an email, politely remind your colleagues how they should venture out of their comfort zone and eat with a coworker they have barely interacted with.
By the end of lunch, your colleagues will surely be rushing to get back to work. But if they leave a mess, that could jeopardize the future of those lunches. A dirty kitchen could lead to pests, mold, and all sorts of nasty smells that absolutely nobody wants to work in the vicinity of.
The solution? Each week, one department is in charge of clean up duty. This involves:
- Wiping down counters.
- Disinfecting counters.
- Washing dishes.
- Storing away food in the refrigerator.
Once a month, check in with your colleagues to see if they have any feedback regarding team lunches. Using Google Forms, you can ask your coworkers whether or not they liked the delivery service and meal options. You can’t know if something is wrong unless you ask.
Office Lunch Etiquette
Team lunches can be remarkably fun. But chances are that the majority of the time, office lunch will be a bit scattered. Some employees will go out to eat, while others will stay and munch on some food they brought from home. Regardless, there’s some basic etiquette that’s needed to ensure that office lunch is enjoyable for everyone.
Picture this scenario: after a few hours of vigorous work, you walk over to your company’s kitchen, open up the fridge, and then are shocked to see that you’re homemade Pad Thai is nowhere to be found. What happened? A coworker ate it!
To avoid this nightmare, you should instruct your colleagues to label their food to ensure that nobody gets confused. On the refrigerator door, place a sign that simply reads “Don’t Eat Someone’s Else’s Food. Respect The Labels” to reiterate the point.
Some colleagues won’t mind sharing their tupperware. On the other hand, others will mind if someone takes their tupperware home with them. As an office, establish rules about what’s considered communal and what isn’t. If most people don’t want to share their tupperware, that should also be labeled.
Wash Shared Dishes and Utensils
A crucial part to basic office etiquette is washing dishes after you’re done using them. Though you could choose to have a chore chart in which someone washes dishes every week, the best — and fairest — option is simply having everyone wash their own. If it becomes an issue, you should put a sign above the sink and send out friendly reminders on Slack.
Clean Up Messes
Messes are inevitable. Whether a colleague accidentally spilled their soup all over the microwave or some was a little bit careless with their croissant, messes are annoying and nobody wants to clean it. To stop messes, have clean-up materials and wipes readily available in the kitchen. And if someone is solely responsible for making messes, meet with them to address how their behavior is jeopardizing the cleanliness of shared spaces.
Take Your Workplace Culture To The Next Level
In addition to planning an awesome lunch, there are numerous ways to improve your workplace culture. With Eden, you can book vendors and other services instantaneously.