by Caroline Lang
Pig-out on productivity
With a new energy bar or superfood salad popping up on every corner, it’s no longer a surprise that good food can lead to a better lifestyle. Nutritious meals have a significant effect on productivity, with the right food fueling electrical impulses for learning, memory and other cognitive tasks. We’re told to always keep some fruit and a bag of nuts on our desks and are encouraged to seek out fresh salads for lunch over greasy burgers and sugar-loaded meals that will drag us down for the rest of the day and impact our motivation in the office. According to HBR, “food has a direct impact on our cognitive performance, which is why a poor decision at lunch can derail an entire afternoon.”
Not only does what we eat impact our personal experience at work but it also affects our connections with others in the workplace. Food is inherently a social activity and humans have been bonding over it since the day we caught our first fish. It’s a universal language and something that we look forward to experiencing – especially together. What’s more is that the act of mimicking behavior – something which naturally occurs when eating together – leads to increased pro-social behaviors. As such, food in the workplace benefits both our cognitive abilities and our social skills, allowing us to share information with each other while we share our meals.
The American marketplace for corporate catering ezCater, recently conducted a study that found that the presence of food in the workplace has significant effects on business deals. 90% of the 1025 office workers they spoke to, agreed that food keeps customers and prospects happy, 80% said it made it easier to secure a deal and 61% agreed that food contributed towards closing said deal. Professor Lakshmi Balachandra at Babson College carried out a similar experiment when she asked three groups of students to negotiate a business deal – in a restaurant, in a conference room with food and in a conference room without food. Those who ate while deciding important matters created 12% greater profits than those who were asked to negotiate without eating. Balachandra argued that his success rate was due to the increase of glucose that occurs when eating – a carbohydrate that enhances brain activity, bolsters self-control and regulates prejudice and aggressive behaviors. No surprise then, that the groups with fuller bellies could negotiate in a calmer and more productive manner.
Devouring the talent
What Forbes’ John Baldoni calls “Motivation by Mouth” has another huge impact when it comes to attracting talent. With startups bombarding their potential candidates with the newest and most exciting employee perks – from free beer to gym passes – food is pretty high up on the list. 67% of those interviewed by ezCater said they’d choose a job at a company that offers free food over one at a similar company that does not. The Wall Street Journal’s Rachel Feintzeig has even classed this free perks arms race as a whole new job category, where startups are battling for the best talent out there. Free food on site might just be the deciding factor when accepting a job offer.
Based in the heart of Camden Market, the team at NOMAD are huge foodies. Like Balachandra, we believe that good decisions and meaningful partnerships are never made on an empty stomach, and as such have teamed up with Feedr to take your meetings to the next level. Impress a client, surprise your team or serve yummy food during your workshop: we’re convinced food is the fuel of any meeting!