Delivering food for thought and happiness

Eat, work, sleep. Sometimes it can feel like that’s all many of us do on any given day, and increasingly not in equal measures.

With an ever-lengthening working week, people in the UK now toil on average for 42.3 hours, the most in Europe. The workplace is fast becoming a space where instead of getting the most from staff, it curtails creativity and drives stress levels to new heights. More than this, it reduces the time to eat to a snatched 20 minutes here or there.

With the decline of staff canteens only exacerbating this – only 6 per cent of firms with fewer than 50 employees have one, according to the 2015 Workplace Report – time away from desks, or the ability to access healthy food, is for many becoming a thing of the past. Food seems to have lost its role in helping us rest, relax, collaborate and enjoy ourselves at work.

But the workplace needn’t, and shouldn’t, be such a culinary desert. For centuries people have come together, socialised and made connections specifically around eating great food. Value is seen in having shared experiences, developing friendships and connecting intellectually. And as workplaces shift to become places for collaboration, idea-sharing and creation of micro-communities, it seems incongruous for food to be left out of the picture.

Not only is sampling a variety of great cuisines the perfect way of bringing people from different cultures and backgrounds together, it also generates happiness, as well as full stomachs. Workplace experts increasingly link happiness to staff engagement and engagement to productivity. A Social Market Foundation study found that happy employees are 20 per cent more productive than unhappy ones, while the Harvard Business Review recently reported close work friendships boost employee satisfaction by up to 50 per cent.

But there are more reasons why enabling staff to eat well improves the company bottom line. At a time when employers are increasingly waking up to the very serious implications of poor employee wellbeing – stress, anxiety and mental issues have now overtaken traditional musculoskeletal problems as the number-one cause of employee absence – there’s no doubting the wellness contribution that food breaks and socialising has.

Not only does eating well fuel people properly, avoiding traditional dips in sugar levels, concentration and productivity, it also enables staff to tackle what they need to do with verve. In addition, it serves as valuable time out to reset busy minds.

When Deliveroo for Business first launched three-and-a-half years ago, it was all about servicing companies with a culture of long hours and late nights. They provided hard-pressed staff with amazing food within 30 minutes, to help fuel their evenings at the office.

But as mindsets around what healthy work is have changed, so have they. They now offer companies healthy team lunches that are amazing opportunities for staff to chat, collaborate, and learn. They also provide healthy breakfast and meeting snacks to maintain employee health throughout the day.

And it goes without saying that the over  10,000 businesses (and growing) that use  Deliveroo for Business  excite their staff by giving them access to the best food our cities have to offer; Japanese food, sushi, ramen and noodle dishes are the favourites among tech client businesses. Manchester-based employees have a penchant for mezze platters; employees in Leeds prefer chicken tikka spice bowls.

“It’s our aim to be the number-one provider of amazing food experience, for everyone from startups to big global corporates. And that’s because we see food differently”, says Juan Diego Farah, global head of Deliveroo for Business.

Not only do they see it as an integral part of ensuring good personal health and wellbeing, they also believe food is key to building great teams in a 21st-century workplace.

And, at a time when creating great experiences for employees is everything, and not just for millennials, workplaces need to offer something different to pull people in and retain top talent. Delivering on this can come from getting everyone around the table to enjoy amazing food together.

When people eat well, they work well and they sleep well, and they’re more likely to be happy too. What’s not to like about this?


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