Is Your Office Lunch Hour Shrinking or Disappearing? New Survey Shows a Troubling Trend

Posted by on Thursday, February 13th, 2014 with 1 Comments

A new survey of American office workers, commissioned by California-based staffing firm OfficeTeam, reveals a troubling trend when it comes to happiness and efficiency in the workplace: the office lunch hour is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

Out of the 413 office workers surveyed, about half (48%) reported their usual lunch break is 30 minutes or less; 14% of all workers take 15 minutes or less. And when workers do take lunch breaks, many of them don’t even leave their desks! Almost 30% continue to work straight through their “break”, while another 27% just surf the web or catch up on Facebook and other social media.

infographic on lunch break survey

American lunch breaks are becoming a thing of the past.
Image source: OfficeTeam

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Celebrating Valentine’s Day At Work: Throw an Office Party to Show Employee Appreciation

Posted by on Wednesday, February 12th, 2014 with Comments Off on Celebrating Valentine’s Day At Work: Throw an Office Party to Show Employee Appreciation Comments

Oh, Valentine’s Day — modern society’s most polarizing holiday. There are few other celebrations that can prompt such strong feelings of romance, affection, guilt, and resentment! Some offices may prefer to ignore the holiday altogether, either writing the idea of group celebrations off as just for school kids, or, on the other hand, being wary of triggering negative responses from colleagues who prefer horror movie marathons to candlelit dinners on Valentine’s Day.

But, the truth is, in our increasingly busy and work-focused lives, offices that skip Valentine’s Day are giving up a valuable opportunity to express appreciation for staff members — one of the most surefire ways to boost job satisfaction and employee morale. Keep the emphasis on celebrating how much you value your team rather than coworkers’ flirtations or showboating flower deliveries, and the entire office will appreciate it!

office Valentine's Day lunch

Celebrating Valentine’s Day at the office is a great way to show employee appreciation.
Image source: flickr user CascadianFarm

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In Charge of Company Catering? Here’s What You Need to Ask Your Coworkers

Posted by on Tuesday, February 11th, 2014 with Comments Off on In Charge of Company Catering? Here’s What You Need to Ask Your Coworkers Comments

If you’re an administrative assistant or office manager responsible for ordering lunches, handling catering orders, and planning staff parties, then you know how tricky it can be to please all the palates in a modern office! Between dietary restrictions and picky eaters, in fact, being in charge of company catering can seem like a Herculean task. Make your life easier by compiling a short questionnaire (voluntary and confidential, of course) and keeping a basic spreadsheet of your coworkers’ likes, dislikes, health-focused dietary goals, and special occasions.

office catering table with admin assistant in apron

Busy admin assistants know how hard it can be to please a hungry office!
Image source: flickr user katielou33

After all, the goal of office meals is to show appreciation, promote teamwork and social bonds, and create a positive workplace culture. While you may not be able to meet all needs at all times, making the effort will go a long way — and at least you’ll avoid ordering a chocolate ice cream cake for a party, only to discover the birthday girl doesn’t eat dairy. Here are the essential questions to ask your coworkers:

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Eat to Beat Workplace Stress With These Mood-Boosting Office Meals

Posted by on Monday, February 10th, 2014 with Comments Off on Eat to Beat Workplace Stress With These Mood-Boosting Office Meals Comments

Stress eating at the office has earned quite a bad reputation. Mindlessly chowing down on bags of Fritos from the vending machine, or obsessively gobbling from the office candy bowl are just a few of the images that pop into our minds… and they’re closely linked with the reason why we tend to indulge in ice cream straight from the carton after a long day at work or even during a bad breakup. We associate certain foods with comfort, and we reach for those first when we’re overloaded and overwhelmed. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

worker with coffee mug and pile of papers

Coffee alone can’t beat stress – choose mood-boosting office meals!
Image source: flickr user Alan Cleaver

Research has shown that eating can combat stress in a healthy, positive way — one that has less to do with comfort foods and more to do with the way vitamins, proteins, and hormones influence our mood and state of mind. Healthy food may not solve all your problems, but it may give the boost of energy, brainpower, or serotonin you need to take them on with confidence. So next time a deadline is looming, your boss is demanding superhuman feats, or you can barely bring yourself to look at your inbox, treat yourself to one of these stress-relieving office meals.

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Inspired by Olympians: How Healthy Meals Can Optimize Employee Performance

Posted by on Friday, February 7th, 2014 with Comments Off on Inspired by Olympians: How Healthy Meals Can Optimize Employee Performance Comments

As the Olympics blast off in Sochi this weekend, the world’s eyes will be on the elite group of athletes competing in the Winter Games. Many of us are impressed by their athletic prowess and their dedication — it takes years of commitment and hard work to become an Olympian! Perhaps, though, we should pay a little more attention to how many Olympic athletes treat their bodies: they are like finely-tuned machines that require care and upkeep, especially when it comes to nutrition.

While Michael Phelps’s famous 8,000-calorie-a-day diet is not a routine any non-athlete should be emulating, the reality is most Olympic diets aren’t nearly as extreme or even contain that many exotic ingredients (aside from copious amounts of protein powder). Many athletes report simply eating a wholesome, healthy variety of meals and snacks throughout the day to keep their bodies in the best possible condition so they can excel at their sport.

table of fruits and nuts for athletes

Olympic athletes fuel their body with healthy, wholesome meals and snacks.
Image source: flickr user luxomedia

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Avoid the Afternoon Slump: The Top 5 Office Lunch Swaps You Can Make for All-Day Energy

Posted by on Thursday, February 6th, 2014 with 1 Comments

We all know the feeling: about an hour and a half after a filling, delicious lunch, you start getting tired. Your concentration wanes, and even though you’re staring right at your work on your computer screen — no Facebook or anything! — you just aren’t getting anything done. Welcome to a well-known office phenomenon: the mid-afternoon energy slump.

What’s the culprit behind this all-too-common daily fatigue? It could be that you didn’t get enough sleep last night, or you’re dealing with stress. But it could also be something as simple as what was on your plate at lunch.

coworker sleeping on desk

Don’t be this guy at the office — choose a smarter lunch.
Image source: flickr user Lordcolus

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Admin Assistance: Just Say No to Cupcakes With These 6 Unexpected Office Birthday Ideas

Posted by on Wednesday, February 5th, 2014 with Comments Off on Admin Assistance: Just Say No to Cupcakes With These 6 Unexpected Office Birthday Ideas Comments

Office manager, receptionist… party planner? As many administrative assistants can attest, their numerous job duties tend to include organizing office celebrations, birthdays being a common one. And with an already packed schedule, it can be easy for admins to find a reliable bakery and fall into a routine of ordering a box of their delicious cupcakes every time a birthday rolls around — especially if your workplace recognizes every employee’s birthday individually, rather than holding a group celebration for all the birthdays falling in each month. But is your office birthday routine causing your celebrations to lose their sparkle?

office birthday cupcakes

Don’t get stuck in the cupcake rut.
Image source: flickr user clevercupcakes

Cupcakes are great — they’re tasty, and they’re conveniently pre-portioned so no one has to cut a cake or dole out slices. But chances are the reason your workplace celebrates birthdays is to recognize each employee, making them feel special for a day; it also gives everyone in the office a little break from the daily routine and time to socialize together. However, when they’re always the same, you might be undermining that intended purpose by making birthday parties just another predictable task in the workday.

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Go Nuts For Healthy Office Snacks: New Study Shows Eating Nuts Reduces Disease

Posted by on Tuesday, February 4th, 2014 with Comments Off on Go Nuts For Healthy Office Snacks: New Study Shows Eating Nuts Reduces Disease Comments

When hunger strikes at 3 pm in the office, it’s hard to resist the call of the vending machine and its wares: crispy, salty, sweet, crunchy; whatever you crave, it can be yours for a few quarters. Think twice, though, before you press a button: every time you choose a little foil bag of potato chips or cookies over that unpopular packet of mixed nuts, you may be passing up a chance to live longer!

When it comes to healthy office snacks, new studies continue to show that nuts are one of the best choices you can make. People who snack on a handful of nuts every day live longer than those who don’t. They can reduce the risk of some cancers, the need for gallbladder surgery, and developing Type 2 diabetes. Some nuts may even have anti-aging effects due to their resveratrol content — and people who eat nuts daily are less likely to gain weight.

nuts on a catering table

Serving nuts at work can help reduce disease and obesity.
Image source: flickr user TenSafeFrogs

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5 Tips for Healthy Office Lunches, Just in Time for American Heart Month

Posted by on Monday, February 3rd, 2014 with Comments Off on 5 Tips for Healthy Office Lunches, Just in Time for American Heart Month Comments

If your workplace wants to emphasize employee wellness this year, there’s no better time to start than February — the 50th annual American Heart Month. While many may consider heart disease an “old man’s disease,” it affects men and women of all ages. Heart disease is responsible for 1 out of every 4 deaths in this country, kills more Americans than all forms of cancer combined, and is the leading cause of death for men and women alike.

Employees in red for American Heart Month

Employees come together to celebrate American Heart Month.
Image source: flickr user JAXPORT

Don’t get too depressed by these statistics, though. The good news is that the risk of heart disease can be drastically reduced by making healthy lifestyle choices: not smoking, eating a balanced diet, exercising, and not drinking too much (all of which are also easy ways to reduce health care costs for businesses under the Affordable Care Act). So as non-profit organizations focus on increasing awareness about heart disease this month, your office can easily join in on this very good cause by promoting the kind of healthy diet that experts say is key to reducing the risk of heart disease. And, of course, that conversation can begin with healthy office lunches at the catering table or in the break room. Consider these heart-healthy eating tips for American Heart Month:

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Eat Together, Succeed Together: How Sharing Office Meals Can Improve Teamwork

Posted by on Friday, January 31st, 2014 with 2 Comments

There are myriad reasons to provide free meals to employees, whether on a regular basis or as a surprise token of appreciation: office meals boost morale, enhance job satisfaction, and can have a positive impact on health and wellness in the workplace. One of the most important outcomes of office meals, however, is an enhanced sense of teamwork.

coworkers eating cake

Sharing a meal can build relationships in the workplace.
Image source: flickr user Julep67

As many may know, teamwork can be a tricky thing, and it’s hard to build solely within the confines of a group meeting or work session. As University of Cambridge professor Mark de Rond tells the Wall Street Journal, “The key to effective teams is very simple: provided people are capable, all you need to do is get them to care about something other than themselves. The problem: that’s very difficult to do.”

One way to promote a culture of teamwork — of caring about a common goal or a group project more than individual recognition or accomplishment — is to foster social bonds and friendships in the office. After all, even when a workload is more solitary, research shows that forming friendships at work can have some very positive impacts.

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