How Offering Overtime Meals Can Lessen Stress & Increase Team Spirit

Posted by on Friday, February 14th, 2014 with Comments Off on How Offering Overtime Meals Can Lessen Stress & Increase Team Spirit Comments

In many offices, long hours are unavoidable — at least some of the time. From looming deadlines to demanding clients to unexpected roadblocks, all sorts of challenges require employees to work weekends or late into the evenings. For employers, it can be tricky: even if expectations of working overtime were made clear upon hiring, how do you keep workers productive and happy during these high-stress periods?

working overtime in dark office

Fight stress and fatigue at the office with thoughtful overtime meals.
Image source: flickr user fabbio

One solution that will help both the physical and psychological challenges of working long hours is to feed employees overtime meals. Providing overtime meals (usually weekend meals or dinners) accomplishes a few goals: workers are supplied with sustainable energy sources to physically keep them going and able to focus, as well as receiving the message that their extra efforts are appreciated. That’s why it’s important to serve overtime meals that are a little more special or noteworthy than the typical box lunch: if you’re asking employees to go above and beyond in their work habits, shouldn’t you return the favor when it comes to the meals served during overtime hours?

No industry is more experienced in overtime hauls, perhaps, than the accounting sector. During the accounting busy season each year, from January to April, employees work extremely long hours on a regular basis. In turn, accounting firms look for creative ways to break up the monotony, energize employees, and provide a social outlet during meal breaks to build team spirit. Take a lesson from this experienced industry: it pays to think outside the box when it comes to office meals! Here are just a few ways to make overtime meals more palatable to employees:

Serve a weekend brunch. On Saturdays and Sundays when the office will be full of workers who are missing family time, communicate extra appreciation by serving a generous mid-day brunch. A beautiful table of pancakes, roasted potatoes, frittatas, pastries, fresh juice, and fruit is a more thoughtful alternative to a plate of bagels or donuts on the break room table. Provide real plates and place settings to encourage a little family-style bonding among your hardworking team as employees sit down to eat together versus retreating to their desks.

Smiling people at a brunch buffet

Weekend meals call for more than a box of donuts!
Image source: flickr user ppank_l

Plan a stress-busting themed menu. There are plenty of foods that have been shown to reduce stress, from salmon to chickpeas to oatmeal to citrus fruits. While workplace stress is no laughing matter, have fun with a weekend lunch by placing small notecards by each dish extolling its stress-reliving virtues: “The Vitamin C in these strawberries will reduce your levels of cortisol!” or “The complex carbohydrates in this oatmeal will boost your serotonin levels.” Make it clear that you care about their mental well-being, and start a few conversations about stress management at the same time.

Go for comfort-food dinners. While you should always provide a healthy alternative for employees who make an extra effort to eat well during busy periods, late-night work dinners should also satisfy cravings and feel like a treat. Order in big plates of pasta from the office’s favorite Italian place, platters of cheeseburgers and fries from a nearby diner, and always include a dessert. Also, encourage employees to take home leftovers: their families should feel appreciated, too!

takeout pasta dish

On late weeknights, think comfort food!
Image source: flickr user BrownGuacamole

Don’t limit overtime meals to mealtimes. Unexpected treats — like a delivery of fresh lattes on a Saturday afternoon or a surprise ice cream social on a dragging Monday evening — can go a long way towards building a culture of employee appreciation and a sense of excitement at the office.

Working long hours presents an opportunity to strengthen the team spirit in the workplace and communicate appreciation for extra effort — and is here to help your office do just that. Plus, with online ordering and prompt delivery, we make providing overtime meals easy and stress-free… because the last thing you need is another chore on your to-do list!

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!

Comments are closed.