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  1. FOOD IN THE WORKPLACE THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

  2. Food in the Workplace Rebecca L. Scott, MPH, Research Analyst and Communications Specialist, Sodexo Introduction: A Changing Workforce With many Baby Boomers working past traditional retirement age and a new generation of talent entering the workforce, the demographic and psychographic characteristics of today’s workplace are unquestionably changing. Compared to even just five years ago, today’s workforce is more diverse in age, ethnicity, and nativity. It is predicted that by 2020, millennials, also known as Gen Y or those born in the 80’s and 90’s, will make up the majority of the workforce. By that same year, 25% of the labor force will be age 55+, up from 12% in 1990. The workforce will also be increasingly represented by non-white employees, with the most notable growth occurring among Hispanics, whose population is expected to double within the next 40 years.1 With these labor force shifts in mind, many organizations are working diligently to attract new talent, and they recognize the importance of demonstrating commitment to diversity and inclusion initiatives. Recruiting new talent, however, does not always equate to retaining workers in the long-term. Younger workers have unique needs and expectations compared to their older counterparts in the workplace, and they seek a distinct type of workplace experience. Employees of different ethnicities also come to the workplace with a unique set of preferences. When workers perceive that their needs are not being met or are dissatisfied with their workplace, they are more likely to seek employment elsewhere. This paper will examine the role of the food services and dining spaces in meeting the needs of today’s employees and contributing to long-term organizational success. The food offer does not always reflect the unique characteristics of today’s workforce, yet this misalignment may not be readily apparent – employees may quietly grumble that the food services are inadequate, or they may simply choose to leave their worksite for lunch. At first glance this issue may seem insignificant; however, in reality it alludes to larger issues around work-related quality of life, company image and culture, and the ability of employees to be optimally productive—issues that ultimately affect the organizational bottom line. Food services and the dining spaces can affect all of these outcomes, yet they do not always leverage their ability to do so. Published by Innovations 2 Solutions |3

  3. Food at Work Before exploring the specific needs of today’s workforce, it is important to first explain the powerful role that food and the dining experience play in creating an optimal workplace experience for employees. In addition to providing nourishment, research shows that consuming the right nutritional mix contributes to cognitive performance and improves mental clarity, energy, focus, and even memory. In the workplace, these outcomes are especially significant, as they are directly correlated with employee productivity and performance. It’s not just about decreasing absenteeism via a healthier workforce, it’s also about decreasing “presenteeism” among employees—that is, reducing the amount of time they are at work but not fully focused and engaged. Furthermore, the choice of food offerings and the design of on-site café spaces can help shape a company’s image value, influence the overall workplace experience, and even foster a certain type of workplace culture. Many forward-thinking organizations are seeking to promote a culture of innovation and collaboration—and re-thinking the food offers and dining spaces can help realize that goal. In addition, today’s competitive labor market requires that businesses differentiate themselves in order to attract top talent; again, the food services and spaces can help convey a company’s unique values and priorities. These concepts and connections will be explained further in the subsequent sections. Food and Productivity According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), good nutrition at work is good business that leads to gains in productivity and worker morale, prevention of accidents and premature deaths, and reductions in healthcare costs.2 In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that adequate nutrition can raise productivity levels by 20% on average. A recent study conducted by researchers at Brigham Young University, the Center for Health Research at Healthways, and the Health Enhancement Research Organization confirmed these statements. The researchers examined the dietary habits of 19,803 employees and found that eating unhealthily was linked with a 66% increased risk of loss of productivity.3 Other research shows that the most healthy quartile of the workforce is 23.5% more productive a week than the least healthy quartile.4 “Access to healthy food is as essential as protection from workplace chemicals or noise.” ~ Christopher Wanjek, author of Food at Work Numerous studies examine the impact of specific diet-related health conditions on productivity and business outcomes. The American Diabetes Association estimates that diabetes, which is associated with overweight and obesity, and more broadly with diet, cost $176 billion in direct medical costs and $69 billion in reduced productivity in 2012.5 In a 2008 study, researchers Kannan, Thompson, and Bolge looked at the effect of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol levels on work productivity, as measured by the Work Productivity and Activity Impairment questionnaire.6 The study found that all three separate conditions had a considerable impact on work productivity loss and activity impairment. Food and Daily Performance It may seem intuitive that poor health status would affect physical and cognitive performance in the workplace and be costly for employers. However, even for workers who are in good health or not suffering from a specific health condition, it is important to understand how food can affect day-to-day performance. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “work” as “sustained physical or mental effort to achieve an objective or result.” From the knowledge worker who must perform mentally-demanding tasks, to the factory worker whose job requires heavy physical labor – work is effort that requires the appropriate fuel. Regardless of industry type, employees may experience a number of outcomes as a result of less-than-optimal nutritional intake. Skipping a meal or going too long between meals results in low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia), which shortens attention span and slows one’s ability to process information. Employees also may experience reactive hypoglycemia, or a blood sugar crash, which refers to a sense of fatigue or lethargy after consuming a large quantity of carbohydrates. Finally, research has shown improved mental performance after small, high 4 | THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

  4. protein meals. For employees who are trying to lose weight, protein also has more “staying power” in the body—helping you to feel fuller, longer—and studies suggest that protein can make people more alert and attentive.7 In certain work environments, the food offer can also affect productivity in a secondary way – by making it more likely that employees will choose to take their meal or snack breaks onsite rather than offsite. This is especially relevant for companies where leaving the facility is a time-consuming endeavor, either due to a large campus or a lack of nearby dining options. By increasing the utilization rate of food services even slightly, significant gains can be had in terms of decreasing the amount of time employees spend away from work during their breaks. Furthermore, when employees regularly make the effort to leave campus, it illustrates a lack of satisfaction with the current food services – and this reflects upon the company in a more significant way, as will be subsequently discussed. Food and Company Culture The extent to which the food offerings and space affect and create the workplace culture is not always fully understood. First and foremost, food and the dining experience can be a social connector—or disconnector. In the article “Food for Thought, ” researchers Kniazeva and Venkatesh describe the social nature of food, noting that “when food consumption occurs in a setting involving more people than oneself, it becomes a key figure in establishing powerful interpersonal relationships.”8 Most people could recall memorable events where food played a significant role in crafting the overall experience, and from the coffee break to the executive dining experience, the workplace is no exception to this rule. “A good culture of food can be the #1 driver of company culture.” ~ Chris Mueller, author at Food+Tech Connect In the business environment, the dining experience can also promote greater collaboration and even innovation. A recent article about building better company culture emphasized that sharing meals around quality food builds an environment that encourages collaboration and celebrates excellence. The authors assert that “every company can benefit from a food-centric culture, ” and that “a good culture of food can be the #1 driver of company culture.”9 According to Lisa Larsen-Hill, SVP of Marketing at Sodexo, food does in fact drive the workplace culture. In particular, Larsen-Hill notes that “The dining experience can leverage food’s ability to bring about greater social interactions or collaborative sessions that might occur during a coffee, lunch, or snack break. These types of interactions also contribute to better morale and productivity.” While not all employees need or want more opportunities for collaboration during their workday, recent studies suggest that Millennials in particular embrace a dining experience that supports increased and more spontaneous interactions.10 Redesigning the space can transform the food experience into one that resonates with today’s workers and creates opportunities for a company’s desired culture to flourish. Published by Innovations 2 Solutions | 5

  5. Food and the Workplace Experience Experiences have long been a part of the entertainment business – think of Cirque du Soleil, Disneyland, or even the simple act of attending a movie. However, the notion of experience design has transcended this industry and has taken root in new technologies, restaurants, and even the workplace. In fact, several of our Fortune 500 clients have asked Sodexo to help them create a great experience for their employees. Yet when asked to explain what they meant by “experience, ” many had a difficult time with this. This inability on both sides to define and operationalize Workplace Experience© led Sodexo’s research team to explore the topic further. Researchers at Sodexo found that Workplace Experience© is quite differentiated from workplace engagement or satisfaction. In fact, it is a composite of experiential and work-related quality of life factors (see Figure 1) – several of which are influenced by the food services and spaces. For instance, our researchers found that workers across all ages look to aesthetic factors and “means of escape” (i.e., breaks and break spaces) to enhance their perception of having a great experience in the workplace. In addition, Workplace Experience© can be improved in the following ways: 1) by service providers and a service delivery model that is appropriate for the unique culture of the organization, and 2) by an individual’s emotional connection with the environment. Workplace Experience© Model Escapism Experiential Factors SERVICE DELIVERY Aesthetics Workplace Experience Career Physical Environment Work-Related Quality of Life Socialization Work-Life Balance EMOTIONAL ASSESSMENT OF WORK ENVIRONMENT Figure 1: Workplace Experience© Model With the exception of “career” factors, the food services and dining spaces can affect all aspects of Workplace Experience.© When designed appropriately and thoughtfully, the food services and dining spaces can help realize a great Workplace Experience©, as opposed to a merely acceptable one. Coffee/espresso bars and comfortable seating areas can provide employees with opportunities to recharge and relax. Dining spaces and interactions with foodservice workers can be exceptional and appealing, or conversely they may negatively impact the employee’s experience. The spaces can be designed to appear welcoming and bright, or they may feel dreary and boring. The food experience can, in fact, create an emotional connection with the workplace and the organization—it can entertain, educate, and provide employees with a unique form of self-expression. An exceptional foodservices provider understands how consumers connect emotionally with services and products via their brand, and is able to bring a new level of excellence to the provision of workplace experiences. In their aggregate, all of the components of Workplace Experience© have a profound impact on employee and organizational outcomes, including work-related quality of life, job satisfaction, productivity, and retention. 6 | THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

  6. Food, Image Value, and Engagement The food services can and should be leveraged to convey a company’s desired image—to employees, visitors, and clients alike. As previously mentioned, when employees choose to use an on-site kitchen or visiting clients opt to leave campus for lunch, this is not ideal for the company or its employees. In addition to wasting employees’ time, a food offer that is out-of-date and out-of-touch communicates to employees that their food preferences are not being considered and that certain aspects of the company are still in need of modernization. Whether or not it is immediately apparent, these same issues are also communicated to potential clients. When aggregated together, these unmet needs and mismatched values can significantly affect employee engagement. Engaged employees are passionate about their work, celebrate achievements collectively, and are highly committed.11 Conversely, disengaged employees negatively impact everything from customer service to sales, quality, productivity, retention and other critical business areas. By creating a food environment where workers feel taken care of and are able to thrive, businesses can profoundly impact employee engagement. In the article “Engaged employees make a difference to bottomline, ” Harsh Chopra notes that at Google, “free, healthy and well cooked food was a key ingredient of its employee engagement strategy. The day the company went public the celebration was not a series of senior management speeches about its vision and bright future – but a free ice cream station for employees.”12 With this in mind, the dining offer should be designed to foster engagement via not merely its menu items, but also via space redesign and the addition of offerings like micro markets, themed events, and interactive elements (e.g., chef demonstrations). Food and Company Values One final consideration is around the significant role that food can play in establishing shared values and beliefs and conveying these to employees and clients. Below is a discussion of several values espoused by many organizations today, and how the food services can better reflect those commitments. Sustainability. Organizational commitment to sustainability may be evident in company decisions and actions, but the foodservice operations are often not fully engaged in the marketing of these initiatives. An excellent foodservice provider will actively participate in and promote company initiatives like zero waste to landfill, recycling, or compost programs. There may also be untapped opportunities to educate employees about food sustainability and other food-related issues, such as the benefits of eating locally-grown foods. More often than not, there is a notable disconnect between an organization’s proclaimed path of sustainability and what one experiences when choosing to buy food at an on-site cafeteria. A superior foodservices provider can weave these two stories into a more cohesive and compelling narrative. Health and Wellness. Today’s organizations know that healthier employees are more productive and energetic, and report better work-life balance and well-being. Comprehensive corporate wellness programs are now the norm rather than the exception, yet these programs are not always effectively linked to the food services. An excellent foodservice provider aligns with an organization’s commitment to well-being by engaging its people with fresh, healthy, locally-sourced food, friendly, efficient service, and spaces that have everything needed to energize both body and mind. A wide range of tactics can be utilized, including developing nutrition standards, providing wellness education and nutritional information, employing a robust e-communication and social engagement strategy, and offering health fairs or themed dining events. To achieve even greater success, organizations may also wish to work with providers to employ behavioral economics techniques in the dining spaces, such as strategically placing healthy foods, offering competitive pricing on healthy menu items, or incentivizing employees to make healthy choices (e.g., by offering a rewards card). Technology. Regardless of industry or sector, technological innovations have impacted today’s workplace and workforce. The food offer, however, may be lagging in its effective utilization of technology. The addition of pre-order and self-checkout kiosks can assist with lines, improve speed of service, and increase guest satisfaction. Online catering ordering can save 15-20 minutes of time per order versus manually-input catering orders, and order accuracy can increase by up to 20%. Networked digital signage in cafés and on surface tablets serves to modernize dining spaces, and results in 5-10 times greater recall among customers as compared to printed signage. In addition, nutritional information should be available not only within the cafés, but also online. The industry- leading MyFitnessPal mobile application and website, for example, can connect employees with a database of menu items (and corresponding nutritional information) offered at their workplace if their employer utilizes a foodservice provider whose recipes are in the MyFitnessPal system. Published by Innovations 2 Solutions | 7

  7. Employees are attracted to organizations whose demonstrated values match with their own personal beliefs. When employees discover a misalignment between their initial perceptions of organizational values and what is actually practiced in the workplace, they are more likely to seek out employment elsewhere. A disconnect between the food services and the larger organizational mission, combined with other instances of mismatched values, can ultimately contribute to job dissatisfaction and employee turnover. The Workplace Food Services and Dining Spaces can: • Improve Employee Health & Well-Being • Increase Productivity & Performance • Foster Employee Engagement Conclusion With many employees spending eight hours a day at their workplace, today’s companies have a unique opportunity to affect not only employees’ health, but also their cognitive performance and ultimately the success of the organization as a whole. Moreover, designing the food services and dining space to meet employees’ needs demonstrates organizational commitment its people – their quality of life, well-being and nourishment, and preferences around workplace design and amenities. Of additional consideration is the fact that today’s workers look to their employers to demonstrate the values they claim to espouse, and this includes providing a workplace and dining experience that reflects those same values. A superior foodservices provider is capable of creating a custom solution that fits all aspects of the company culture, and continually builds value day after day through a healthier, more productive workforce. • Boost Company Image Value & Reputation • Drive the Optimal Workplace Culture • Convey Company Values & Priorities • Contribute to a Great Workplace Experience • Improve Employee Quality of Life 8 | THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

  8. Committed to: End-User Insight, Innovation & Solution Development, and Driving Real Change in the Market Keep Up with the Current Trends With Our Mobile App Search Sodexo Workplace (http://bit.ly/Sodexoinsight) 2 0 1 3 WORKPLACE T R E N D S WORKPLACE T R E N D S WORKPLACE T R E N D S WORKPLACE T R E N D S WORKPLACE T R E N D S WORKPLACE T R E N D S INNOVATIONS 2 SOLUTIONS 2013 Workplace Trends 2014 Workplace Trends 2 0 1 2 The “ QualiTy of life per SQuare fooT approach To real eSTaTe: ” A Summary of Meeting Proceedings at CoreNet Global’s 2012 Orlando Global Summit & Subsequent Action Steps Authors Debra Dailey, MA, VP Workplace Experience Strategy, Sodexo Jennifer Sponsler, MPH, Senior Manager of the Institute on Health, Productivity, and Human Capital, National Business Group on Health (NBGH) Rachel S. Permuth, PhD, Sr. Director of Workplace Research, Sodexo

  9. WORKS CITED 1Hayutin, A., Beals, M., & Borges, E. (2013). The Aging US Workforce: A Chartbook of Demographic Shifts. Stanford Center on Longevity. Retrieved from http://longevity3.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/The_Aging_U.S.-Workforce.pdf 2International Labour Organization. (2005). Decent food at work: Raising workers’ productivity and well-being. Retrieved from http://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/news/WCMS_075505/lang--en/index.htm 3Huffington Post. (2012). Healthy Eating, Exercise Linked with Workplace Productivity. Retrieved from http://www. huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/12/health-workplace-productivity-eating-nutrition-exercise_n_1752749.html 4Mills, P. R. (2005). Good health status boosts employee productivity. Environmental Health, 4, 1-9. Retrieved from http:// www.vielife.com/compendium/en-us/productivity/38/good-health-status-boosts-employee-productivity 5American Diabetes Association. (2013). Economic Costs of Diabetes in the U.S. in 2012. Diabetes Care, 36(4). Retrieved from http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/early/2013/03/05/dc12-2625.full.pdf+html 6Kannan, H., Thompson, S., & Bolge, S. C. (2008). Economic and humanistic outcomes associated with comorbid type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and hypertension among individuals who are overweight or obese. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 50(5), 542–549.Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18469623 74imprint. (2009). What’s in the Breakroom: Employee Diet and Productivity. Retrieved from http://info.4imprint.com/wp- content/uploads/1M-03-1009-Blue-Paper-A-Malnourished-Workforce.pdf 8Kniazeva, M., & Venkatesh, A. (2007). Food for thought: a study of food consumption in postmodern US culture. Journal of Consumer Behavior, 6(6), 419-435. Retrieved from http://merage.uci.edu/Resources/Documents/ [24]2007FoodForThoughtMariaKniezeva.pdf 9Mueller, C. (2012). Food Rules for Startups: 8 Ways to Build Better Company Culture. Retrieved from http://www. foodandtechconnect.com/siteold/2012/02/27/food-rules-for-startups-8-ways-to-build-better-company-culture/ 10Gianopulos, P. (2013). Bye, Baby Boomers—Hello, Millennials. Retrieved from http://foodfanatics.usfoods.com/people/ bye-boomers-hello-millennials 11Chopra, H. (2010). Engaged employees make a difference to bottomline. Retrieved from http://www.thehindu.com/todays- paper/tp-features/tp-opportunities/engaged-employees-make-a-difference-to-bottomline/article514358.ece 12Ibid. If you wish to reference this document, please use the following citation: Scott, Rebecca (2014). Food in the Workplace 10 | THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

  10. Innovations 2 Solutions 9801 Washingtonian Blvd. Gaithersburg, MD 20878 888 SODEXO 7 www.sodexo.com