For many employees, a lunch break provides important time away from work to relax and decompress before beginning the second half of the day. These breaks are important, especially for employees who need that space to perform at their best.
However, after a while, many employees may start to crave variety in their daily routines. In order to keep your office running efficiently, you may need to find new ways to keep employees engaged and interested. Some companies have leveraged their lunch breaks to boost employee productivity by hosting regular lunch and learn events.
Lunch and learn programs aren’t work — they’re meant to provide entertaining and useful content, and they shouldn’t replace conventional employee training. However, these programs can help your employees work better and happier. If you need a little extra encouragement to start a lunch and learn program at your office, here are four ways they can boost office productivity and benefit your company.
1. They Draw In New Employees and Increase Worker Retention
People today increasingly seek experiences over possessions, so it’s no surprise that 79 percent of employees say they would prefer increased employee perks to a pay raise. Though perks can include anything from paid family leave to on-site gym facilities, free food and learning opportunities are two of the best perks to draw new employees and retain old ones.
Employees like to feel that they’re making progress in their jobs. A lunch and learn program can provide employees with the personal development opportunities they crave, such as inviting affordable speakers to your program or offering your team new trends to research. This can keep them from getting bored in their positions.
2. They Break up the Day-to-Day
If your employees do the same tasks every day with little variety, there’s a fair chance they’ll find themselves bored at some point in the future. Bored employees lag behind in productivity and sometimes even start searching for different employment opportunities. A lunch and learn program breaks up the monotony and keeps your employees engaged.
A good lunch and learn program sparks inspiration and gives employees something to look forward to on their calendars. To maximize this benefit, make the topic of your programs different every time and avoid topics that too closely resemble an employee’s daily grind.
Though your employees must ultimately decide whether they want to use their lunch breaks to relax or work, a good lunch and learn program strikes a balance between the two, encouraging employees to enjoy themselves while also kick-starting productivity.
3. They Encourage New Ideas
When lunch and learn programs teach employees skills and lessons outside their areas of expertise, they also inspire creative, new ideas. Though the topics of your lunch and learn program might not seem immediately relevant to the work that goes on inside the office, people learn valuable lessons by expanding their horizons.
By introducing your employees to new topics, you’ll also inspire them to form connections between their work and what they learn. In some cases, lunch and learn programs can help employees solve problems and look at things from a new perspective, which greatly benefits productivity.
4. They Bring Your Team Together
A lunch and learn program is the extra-curricular activity of your workday. Though participation isn’t mandatory, these programs can bring those that do attend closer as a team. Employee-led presentations, for example, help people across departments understand each other’s positions and interests.
The connections formed during lunches inevitably draw team members closer together and increase how efficiently they work together. In this way, they share similarities with team-building exercises. Make use of this benefit by allowing employees to suggest topics and encouraging questions and audience participation.
Excite Your Employees
When your company has an effective lunch and learn program, employees will actually be excited to stay in the office during their breaks. Though these events can take work to organize, their positive impact on productivity makes them well worth the effort.
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Also published on Medium.