In Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the most fundamental in the hierarchy are physiological needs, including i.a. food. The employers who are sensible of it, more and more often provide their workers some meals (including hot ones) and drinks (including bear). This trend is becoming popular in the West, especially among the largest technological companies such as Facebook or Google. Company canteens serve hot meals, desserts and drinks for free. What do they get in return?
According to employers who offer free meals, full employees have higher morale and better well-being, thanks to which they work more efficiently and they perform their duties more creatively. Moreover, they can work longer and with greater engagement. The employees also integrate with each other much faster and they exchange with their ideas more eagerly. Dan Cobley, Managing Director in Google in UK and Ireland, claims that queues in Google canteen are maintained above a certain length on purpose in order to encourage employees to interaction, exchange of views or creative discussions.
Google provides employees all they need – says Sandi Mann, senior lecturer of psychology at University of Central Lancashire. – Therefore, we have a situation when employees feel that they do not have to come back home. It is good for a company but not for people who often do not have life apart from work.
According to professor, the costs of funding every-day and almost round-the-clock meals for employees do not matter for companies like Google or Facebook. The concerns follow a reciprocity rule – „If someone does something for you, you will feel obliged to do something for him”.
Less affluent employers only pay extra to work meals, fund them occasionally, or only for a certain period of time – for instance after achieving a great success, thanks to which they motivate employees to achieve other successes. Entrepreneur.com website recommends serving free continental breakfasts once or twice a week. Baguettes, muffins, coffee and similar tariffs will guarantee an enjoyable start of a day – it advises.
British companies not only try to start a day with a nice accent, but also they try to end it in a similar way. For instance, in London Albion advertisement office on Friday afternoons the bar is opened at 16.30 and it offers free wine, bear and cocktails. Friday night bar is a ritual indicating the beginning of a weekend. The employees finish their work in a sensible time and they can relax with each other before coming home – says Jason Goodman, chief executive officer and founder of the agency.