Is there a connection between eating well and employee engagement? Last month I gave a public talk that explored the connection between food and work culture at the creative hub KultuuriKatel in Tallinn, Estonia.
In highly-demanding contemporary work culture, there’s a growing need to cultivate knowledge and put people and purpose at the forefront. With technology, work has changed and so has the way in which people interact with one another. Seeking more opportunities to come together for meaningful and purposeful activities is a day-to-day need. Not to mention a big opportunity for organizations.
I believe that each of us has the responsibility to create a sustainable way to work and live. And, that’s why I love to use a human-centered approach to create and deliver services, including workshops and talks.
So, I started by asking people to reflect on the incidence of eating in their daily life and at work. How many times do they eat? Do they eat at their desk? Or do they eat alone? And if they don’t, do they eat with their teammates? That way, we could have a rich conversation at the end.
I continued with a historical overview of eating on the job, from the industrial revolution to the productive 90s, until today. Then, I presented the latest research and relevant cultural references from Europe and North America. Finally, I introduced WE Factory’s own human-centered design approach to workplace eating and Meal at Work, the lunch format for organizations we pilot last November. You can read about the pilot and what we learned here.
The participants, an intimate group of people from a wide range of industries and professions spanned HR managers such as Tiina Saar-Veelmaa who I interviewed here, web developers, food entrepreneurs, managers, and students, contributed to the conversation with their own experience, memories, challenges, and insights.
Highlights and takeaways
The participants and I tried to find a definition of what eating culture on the job means now and in the future. We also discussed the challenges of generational change.
Some people suggested that lunch or coffee break in open-space offices might need to be designed differently than they are now since workers seek more alone-time, there might be better solutions for conviviality than to eat together every day.
Visit this page to learn about the topics I talk about and chat about your next event. Please note that I do not speak at any conference or on any panel that does not include women.