Boer Deng, writing over at Slate, has an interesting piece up right now about workplace lunch habits and company cafeterias. As it turns out, less than 20% of American workers take an actual lunch break. Deng references multiple studies that paint a nation's workforce well-accustomed to working through lunch or quickly scarfing down their midday meal at their desk.
Deng compares this state of relative normalcy with the lunchtime experiences at companies such as Apple, Bloomberg, and Hallmark. Those three all feature on-site cafeterias or canteens and, as Deng explains, greatly benefit from them. She then argues in favor of all workplaces -- big and small -- establishing their own form of on-site dining or food option:
"There’s a simple solution that can make workers less harried and companies more productive: Nearly every company—even small ones—should have a cafeteria... Management-theorist types will tell you that cafeterias work magic for employee morale and save time by discouraging long lunches away from the office."
The natural counterargument against Deng's universal cafeteria viewpoint is the cost to maintain such a service, particularly for firms that employ fewer than 30 people. While Deng does acknowledge this challenge, she offers a number of creative solutions. For example, separate companies located in the same building could come together to form their own canteen. The cross-pollination of separate employees could lead to a state of innovative collaboration. Almost all of the people Deng spoke to in researching her piece spoke highly of the returns on a cafeteria investment.
Deng's article is a massive investigation into the world of corporate canteens, which I assure you is way more interesting than I just made it sound. Take a look at let us know what you think.
Read more at Slate
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