Free Food Boosts Office Collaboration, But Has Workers Stay Longer
Everyone loves free food and corporations have caught on. However, is the purpose of this charity to boost office morale or chain staff members to their jobs. Psychologists think it's a little bit of both.
Natalie has been writing professionally for about 6 years. After graduating from Ithaca College with a degree in Feature Writing, she snagged a job at PCMag.com where she had the opportunity to review all the latest consumer gadgets. Since then she has become a writer for hire, freelancing for various websites. In her spare time, you may find her riding her motorcycle, reading YA novels, hiking, or playing video games. Follow her on Twitter: @nat_schumaker
Everyone loves free food, no matter if you're in college or a grown adult—it's hard to resist a free meal. Corporations have taken note of this affinity by offering free lunches, booze, and breakfasts to help boost morale. Justin Parkinson and Luke Jones have noticed the trend in their article for the BBC, but question if there's an ulterior motive to this generous giving.
Google has a rumored “150 feet” rule, which stipulates that no employee should further than that from a food station. Dan Cobley, Google's UK and Ireland Managing Director, believes that these food stations help the staff interact with one another. Thus, encouraging staff to initiate more creative discussion away from their desks. But Sandi Mann, Senior Psychology Lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire, believes companies, like Google, get a better bargain out of the deal:
"Google, in particular, provides everything and that's designed to keep you there, not just at your desk, but at work. At the extreme it makes you feel you need never go home. It's a perk and people feel they want it. But it's not a good thing if it means you haven't got a life outside."
Mann even goes so far as to accuse that companies may be using free food as a way to guilt workers to stay longer and work more hours in return for the company's kindness:
"It's the principle of reciprocity. If someone does something for you and you feel obliged to do something back. It's the same principle that marketing people use when they give you free samples."
Parkinson and Jones cite one man who was able to live off of Google's generosity by living out of his car. In 2011, Ben Driscoe survived for 60 weeks on office perks after reading a Living At Google advice website, which states that: "The only thing they don't give you is shampoo."
One psychologist has a less cynical approach when looking at free food in offices. US psychologist Abraham Maslow says that by giving employees food you fulfill their most basic needs. Once the psychological burden of finding food and shelter are lifted, people are ready to build relationships with the people around them. Maslow surmises that by meeting people's most basic “hierarchy of needs,” they can have more self-esteem in the office and have a feeling of fulfillment in working for the company.
What it comes down to is personal awareness. It's great if a company offers you free bagels and coffee, but don't let it come at the cost of your own free time. It's ok to have a life outside the office.
Read more at BBC
Photo Credit: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock
Orangutans join humans and bees in a very exclusive club
- Orangutan mothers wait to sound a danger alarm to avoid tipping off predators to their location
- It took a couple of researchers crawling around the Sumatran jungle to discover the phenomenon
- This ability may come from a common ancestor
Giving our solar system a "slap in the face."
- A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
- It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
- Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
Journaling can help you materialize your ambitions.
- Organizing your thoughts can help you plan and achieve goals that might otherwise seen unobtainable.
- The Bullet Journal method, in particular, can reduce clutter in your life by helping you visualize your future.
- One way to view your journal might be less of a narrative and more of a timeline of decisions.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.