I received a copy of research undertaken on Eating Together at Work, which I found fascinating. How do we organise our lunchtimes in a small business?
In the past, whilst working in Bristol, I would either pop out for a sandwich and usually bring it back to eat in the meeting room or, when I needed to think more creatively, walk to a local buzzy restaurant eat and enjoy the atmosphere. I also used lunch as a way of doing staff reviews and establishing a deeper understanding of clients.
Lunch times are not only a time to rest and recover from the morning but also very important to share informally, with colleagues. Most of us are social beings, who need to exchange ideas, provide and receive emotional support and get fresh air and exercise.
As the owner of a small firm I stopped the temptation for staff eating at their desk by providing a space, comfortable and flexible seating and the basics of a kettle and fridge. I also ensured privacy for those who wanted it. Monthly practice meetings were in house and catered.
Reading the Eating Together at Work also brought back some bad experiences of working within other firms and in particular a high street Bank.
I realised how little respect the Directors have for their customer facing staff when confronted by the Staff Room!
If employers treat their staff without respect, why expect the staff to treat customers fairly. You do not get the best out of people that way.
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