Why it’s important to share meals with your coworkers.

Do you remember what you ate, when you were replying to emails at your desk, racing against the clock on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving? Probably not. Wouldn’t it be great to recall that warm grain salad, the one bejeweled with pomegranate seeds? Or to have been able to share in success, and savory bites, with your colleague? There is a deep sense of mindfulness and camaraderie when cracking a code is accompanied by breaking bread.   

There are many times and places when eating alone is a necessity, and even delightful. However, eating with other people is basic to our nature as social beings, it’s primal. 

At Deborah Miller Catering & Events, we pride ourselves in creating memorable culinary moments for our guests. Not only moments of umami-wonder, but also moments of conversation and connection. These moments can happen at intimate weddings, joyous mitzvahs, and milestone birthdays. They can also happen in the workplace. We’ve delivered corporate catering for almost 30 years and are steadfast in the belief that eating with your colleagues is a powerful tool that positively impacts workplace culture and wellbeing. Eating as a team is something we do at Deborah Miller Catering & Events, and it’s something we encourage other people to do as well.

In recent years, hybrid workplaces have gained popularity, allowing employees a new degree of flexibility in their week. While this had been generally positive for many people and companies, it has also limited the time that coworkers can connect with each other. Connecting with your teammates, especially over a meal, has many advantages. 

Let’s get into the data. 

Cultivating Personal Connections

Teams that share meals often develop stronger personal connections and affinity towards each other, translating into more fruitful collaboration. These relationships extend beyond the workplace, creating a foundation for effective teamwork in and out of the office. 

Boosting Productivity through Breaks

Taking breaks, especially communal ones, has been shown to enhance productivity. Stepping away from screens fosters a healthier focus on both oneself and on interpersonal connections; when employees return to their desks after dining breaks, they typically have newfound energy and inspiration. 

Enhanced Cooperation and New Ventures

Eating together encourages a higher level of cooperation among team members. Shared experiences of dining together and striking up informal conversations creates a bond – and sometimes new ideas – that can positively influence workplace dynamics.

Reduced Stress and Improved Mental Health 

Communal dining has been linked to lower stress levels; promoting a heart-healthy environment that encourages people to slow down and mindfully eat and engage with one another is nourishing for their bodies and their minds, ultimately leading to less stressed, happier employees.  

Bonus: Attracting Talent with Dining Culture

Offering meals as part of workplace culture can be a hiring perk. Potential employees are drawn to environments that prioritize not only professional development but also a supportive and connected community.

In a post-pandemic world, where remote work has become more prevalent, these moments of connection are vital for team bonding and workplace culture.

So, let’s embrace the timeless tradition of breaking bread together, recognizing its potential to enhance not only our work lives but also our overall sense of fulfillment and camaraderie.

Let’s eat!

References

Conway, Casey. “Lunch Is Served! Workplace Meals Improve Productivity .” Business News Daily , 24 Oct. 2023, https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/8638-employees-eat-together.html. Accessed 21 Dec. 2023.

Gaskell, Adi. “Why Teams Should Eat Together If They Want To Bond.” Forbes , 17 Jan. 2023, https://www.forbes.com/sites/adigaskell/2023/01/17/how-eating-together-can-form-bonds-within-a-team/?sh=1948a49a7d09. Accessed 21 Dec. 2023.

Schneider, Han. “Solo Decks Lunches Your Norm? A New Survey Shows 91% of People Who Eat With Others Feel Less Alone .” Well + Good, 28 Oct. 2022, https://www.wellandgood.com/eating-with-others/. Accessed 20 Dec. 2023.

White, Lawrence T. “Breaking Bread Together Leads Negotiators to Better Outcomes .” Psychology Today, 2020, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/culture-conscious/202012/breaking-bread-together-leads-negotiators-better-outcomes. Accessed 2023.

Photography: Lumecri Studio