In recent years, companies large and small have become more in tune with “team building”, offering activities and events that help employees bond with one another with the notion that when teams are strengthened, work is done more efficiently and collaboration happens more easily.

Indeed, experts find that socializing and creating friendships in the workplace can be one of the best ways to increase productivity as well as improve office morale. Communication improves as well, which allows individuals to better work together not only on team projects but in general.

If you’re a business owner or manager, perhaps you’ve come up with some creative ideas for team building, like a painting night or perhaps an outing to a local sporting event. Those are great, but we often ignore the most obvious opportunity to spend time together. Eating! Breaking bread together has long been a way to garner and nurture friendship and collaboration, and events such as staff lunches can be a fun, inexpensive, and easy-to-organize team-building event for small or large groups within your company.

Taking the time for a team lunch

Many employers might question whether or not taking 1, 2, or even 3 hours out of a productive day to eat lunch together is actually worth the time. After all, wouldn’t each member of the team get more done at their desk or on the phone or internet? So, why take this time to just eat and talk?

Well, we say “why not?”. Chances are this isn’t something you’ll day every week or even each month, but there are a number of reasons why hosting a staff lunch could be beneficial.

  • As a reward – Perhaps your company is experiencing a surge of business and you want to thank your team or teams for their help in making this happen. Providing them with food and a place to share it together is ideal for this purpose.
  • As a kick-off – Maybe you’re starting a new project that you’re super-excited about and want to share that spark with your team. Then set up a kick-off luncheon with your staff to talk about the project and to spread the excitement about it. This also creates company pride, which is always a good thing!
  • To get to know one another – If you’re staff has little reason to collaborate on projects, chances are many of them simply don’t know each other. Change that! Provide a lunch and encourage employees not to talk about work but about themselves and give them a task that allows them to get to know one another. Consider including an ice-breaker game or other activity that encourages them to offer some personal info about themselves.
  • To build morale – Maybe there’s been a slump in your industry or something else that’s caused a decline in morale. If so, offering a free meal along with some encouraging words to boost the overall mood of your staff could be in order. Keep it upbeat and include a simple menu if you’re worried about cost.

Planning a team-building staff lunch

So, you’ve decided to take the plunge and organize a lunch for your team. Whether you’re celebrating a victory, anticipating one, or rebuilding confidence and enthusiasm, this meal will no doubt be a welcome treat for your staff.

Now, what do you need to do to organize it?

  • Choose a date – Locate a date that’s ideal for your team and make a big deal about advertising the lunch. Give them plenty of advance warning so that each member of the staff can make sure they are present, including those that are sometimes working on the road or from home.
  • Hire a caterer – You want to do this right and ordering sandwiches from the local deli just won’t cut it. Instead, talk to a reliable local caterer who is adept at cooking for groups with a variety of tastes. A caterer can craft a menu that meets your budget needs while also offering a meal that’s a true treat for your team. And when you hire a caterer, you can sit back and let someone else do all the work!
  • Choose a location – If you have a team meeting room or a regular lunch area, you can certainly have your lunch there. However, if you want to do something a little different, take it outside your company location for a true disconnect from the work day. If the weather is lovely, consider an outdoor picnic and let your staff enjoy some midday sunshine!
  • Craft a menu – Work with your caterer to come up with a fun and tasty menu that’ll have your staff oohing and aahing as they return to their desks. This could be anything from traditional lunch fare, like soup and sandwiches, to a hot lunch with a choice of entrees, to the aforementioned barbecue, which can range from hot dogs and burgers to salmon and steak, depending on your budget. You might even consider a “themed” lunch if there’s something in particular you’d like to focus on, such as building a new location in a different country.

At Catering Visions, we’ve served team-building lunches for 30 and for 3,000! Whether your team is large or small, we’re eager to help your Vancouver-area business create an event that will bring your staff together for an afternoon of good eats and great company. For more information, call us at 604-657-8373 and speak to our chef.