A sense of community and shared purpose among coworkers is fundamental to creating a strong work culture in your office. In the Bay Area, this sense of belonging at work is especially important; when employees hop from company to company without batting an eye, an emotional tie to work can be the game changer in retaining top talent.
Why is community at work so important?
A feeling of belonging, a bigger picture goal, and work relationships that actually mean something can make the difference between an employee that comes to work every day for a paycheck, and an employee that shows up every day (physically and mentally) because they care about the people they work with. In a strong work community, employees create bonds with their coworkers, and coworkers become friends. When coworkers become friends, and employees have a personal connection with the people they work with, they become more invested at work.
Stronger interpersonal relationships build a stronger sense of community. A stronger sense of community leads to increased collaboration, better engagement, and greater retention. The math is simple – a close community at work equals greater success for your business.
How can you build a sense of community in your office?
While we can’t give you the secret recipe for creating the perfect work community, we can suggest one ingredient: at Off the Grid, we’re big proponents of building your community through food. At the end of the day, everyone has to eat, and food plays a huge role in our society. People come together over meals, organize their schedules around eating, and spend some of their most cherished time with family and friends around food. As an important element of peoples’ lives, there’s something special about food that creates a unique emotional connection and sense of comfort and familiarity. Food gets people excited!
Unfortunately, food doesn’t always play as big of a role in a work environment. Recent years have seen a rise in “desktop dining”, with more than 62% of professionals eating lunch at their desks. This means that each of those solo diners misses out daily on an opportunity to socialize with and get to know their coworkers. Facilitating opportunities for social interactions and meaningful connections can create a stronger tie between employees and their workplace, and ultimately lead to a feeling of belonging that encourages employees to stick around longer. When you miss out on those moments, you miss out on the opportunity to strengthen your work community.
People enjoy sharing the experience of trying new foods and enjoying meals together, and offering these experiences at work leverages the strong positive emotional connection that people have with food and shared social experiences involving food. Food at work “fosters a more collaborative atmosphere and sense of fun”, according to USA Today. As you look to facilitate strengthened personal connections and a closer community, think through the incentives and nudges that you have at your disposal to facilitate those employee social interactions.
Offering food at work creates a direct incentive nudging your employees to spend time together and engage with one another. At Off the Grid, we’re especially fans of family-style group dining, because it naturally encourages people to sit together, eat a shared meal, and talk about things unrelated to work. When so many people already have positive memories and feelings associated with shared meals, providing opportunities for similar interactions that recreate those sentiments can be a strong tool in building a sense of connection and community.
Learn more about the communities that you can build in your office! Check out our Off the Grid at Work corporate meal solution.