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Guestblog from our sponsor Nooks (and for the record: we totally agree with them AND we love team lunches in Nooks!)

The most difficult part of building a company is building its culture. It’s not a problem that you can eliminate by throwing money or time at it … It’s something that takes time and conscious effort. After all, you can’t just force people to be friends by locking them in the office overnight hoping they will bond by the morning (Not that we’ve tried it(!))

A lot of managers dabble with creative ideas to build a positive and connected office culture and try and create opportunities that will allow their employees to mingle. After taking chances on a fair share of elaborate ideas, many people find that the key doesn’t have to be extravagant at all. Culture grows organically, through things as little as spontaneous hallway conversations, coffee-runs, “Hey, do you have a minute?”’s, and micro-interactions. So, how can you “build a culture” when, in most cases, you don’t even have control over such micro-interactions, especially during remote and hybrid work.

The solution is simple — weekly team lunches that bring your team together.

The Kitchen as the Ultimate Office Social Hub

Many cultures adhere to meals very highly as they are the epitome of social interaction and human connection. Take a quick look at your social calendar and I’m willing to bet 99% of your social activities are surrounding a meal. Food is not only a natural necessity; it also brings people together.

This applies to your office setting as well. If you had to pinpoint a single room in the office that initiates the most social interaction, you would name the kitchen right? Given that the kitchen already plays a key role in your office social scene, why don’t you take advantage of this and bring your employees together for shared food experiences? I’m of course talking about a weekly team lunch!

A team lunch is not only the best shot you have for establishing better connections with your coworkers, this activity can also help build an egalitarian culture! How?

  • It’s the one meeting everyone can make; everyone needs to eat!
  • No one can dominate the conversation and eat their Chipotle burrito at the same time; it simply can’t be done. So there’s more listening and less talking!
  • Interns / new hires feel less awkward about asking questions when they know they’re not wasting anyone’s time.
  • A team lunch can help build the “family dinner effect”. Having a meal together is associated with many benefits such as a lower risk of depression, and increased self-esteem.
  • Allows learning more about your co-workers’ hobbies and interests outside of work. This helps establish healthy communication with your colleagues as it breaks down social barriers!

How We Do it at Nooks

Yes, team lunches are great! But how do you continue this tradition as remote & hybrid work becomes the norm? The answer is Nooks!

As the Nooks team, we get together every Wednesday in the kitchen of our virtual office to have a team lunch covered by the Doordash credit we embedded in the room. It’s great to step away from our duties for 45 minutes as we mingle with our colleagues with some hype music playing in the background. People filter in and order their food, then take a screenshot and share it with everyone so we can all get hyped over what they ordered.

Oh also… The first and only rule of #TeamLunch is no work talk is allowed. If someone mentions work, we punish them by making them buy all team members ice cream.

Funny story: When I was new to the Nooks team, I ordered Poke for my first ever team lunch! But, the food never ended up being delivered. Regardless, I didn’t even notice that my food hadn’t arrived until the team lunch was over. That is how much the conversation was flowing! As a new hire, it definitely helped me feel more integrated into the team and get to know everyone through casual conversations. I also loved how everyone checked in on whether my Poke arrived after the meeting 🙂

DoorDash Giveaway Alert: #TheTeamLunchProject 

Liking the idea of hosting team lunch so that your team feels more connected?

As the official sponsor of the International Week of Happiness at Work due to take place between September 20-26, we are giving away Doordash credit so that you can also have lunch with your team and join #TheTeamLunchProject. All you have to do is invite three new teams to Nooks and we’ll fund lunch for your entire team (up to 10 people) for one day. Just get them to sign up here [ link] and make sure they mention that you referred them!


Author Fennande

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