Catered Lunches to Surprise Sundaes: How to Feed an Accounting Team During Busy Season

Posted by on Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014 with Comments Off on Catered Lunches to Surprise Sundaes: How to Feed an Accounting Team During Busy Season Comments

It’s busy season. If you work for an accounting firm, or are married to an accountant, or are friends with an accountant, you know what “busy season” means. It means working early in the morning, through the lunch hour, into the evening, and on Saturdays (and possibly Sundays). Busy season, which begins in January and runs up to the April 15 federal deadline for tax filings, means work. Lots of work.

Of course, a tax firm office full of employees working long hours (and potentially spending more time with their colleagues than their spouses) can also mean stress and burnout. As John Shank of Birmingham-based accounting firm Barfield, Murphy, Shank, & Smith tells Business Alabama, “So much work is compressed into such a short amount of time, and stress with employees is inevitable.”

office worker facedown on desk

Busy season can take its toll on tax firms. Image source: flickr user carltondramaticsociety

Luckily, as the accounting industry has come to terms with the reality of busy season, they’ve also found strategies to offset the stress and tension. In-office massages, group Wii tournaments, acupuncture treatments, and gift certificate giveaways are all popular methods of providing relief from the daily (and nightly) grind.

But most important of all the busy-season coping strategies? Food. As administrative assistants in accounting firms can attest, busy season means food! From staff lunches to late-night dinners, keeping hardworking accountants fed and energized is key to a successful busy season.

In fact, when polled LinkedIn’s Accounting group on their favored busy season activities, the most popular perk was free meals. The article reports that “Free team lunches and dinners ranked highest… but our favorite culinary response came from trainee Rebecca Granthan: ‘An unexpected round of bacon sandwiches at 10 am :-).’”

Indeed, while stocking the break room with box lunches, soda, and healthy snacks will get the job done, smart accounting firms know that there’s a strategy to treating their team to busy season meals. Provide accountants food when they need it most, and when they expect it the least… and make eating a team-building exercise.

office worker looking over pizza box

Admin assistants at accounting firms know that a little pizza goes a long way. Image source: flickr user massdistraction

When it’s late on Thursday afternoon and everyone realizes they’ll be working until 10 pm, that’s the perfect time to order up a round of pizzas or Chinese takeout to keep everyone well-fed and able to focus for a few more hours. On Saturdays, when the office will be full of employees who might be missing out on their kids’ dance recitals or soccer games, treat them to a fully-catered lunch to communicate an extra dose of appreciation and teamwork. However, be aware that some accountants prioritize busy season health, and try to provide healthy alternatives to more indulgent meals when possible.

Don’t just offer food at dinnertime or the lunch hour. Surprise the team and bring a boost of energy to the office by turning an empty conference room into a sundae bar, or take a cue from West Coast startups by hosting a Friday afternoon happy hour in the break room (although when accounting’s involved, a one-beer limit may be wise!).

Catered sandwiches at work

Think beyond box lunches on evenings and weekends. Image source: flickr user amacedo

Another strategy is to encourage workplace camaraderie by taking advantage of every opportunity for a team celebration. Throw a chocolate-themed office party on Valentine’s Day, order in gumbo and jambalaya for Mardi Gras, and serve shepherd’s pie or corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day. Not only will employees be well-fed, but taking a break from their desks and gathering together to celebrate will reinforce team cohesion and the sense that “we’re all in this busy season together!”

When you have a hungry staff of hard-working accountants to feed, might just become your greatest ally. Our Virtual Cafeteria Service and recurring catering orders make the busy season a little less stressful for the entire office.

When it comes to feeding employees and coworkers, make your company's food program really count! If your workplace dining plan needs to take it up a notch — or if you don't have one at all — is here to help. From Virtual Cafeteria Service to diverse menus to local takeout & offers customizable dining solutions for every business and budget. Contact us today to get started!

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