You don’t need to invest in exotic trips or an in-house spa to make your employees happy. Sometimes it can be as simple as a team lunch.
As an employer, it must be your agenda to get all of your employees together for a company lunch at least once a month. A meal together is a great way for team members to share conversation, ideas, and laughter.
While there are varied ways to build team bonding, nothing is more effective or cheap than team building lunches.
Subsequently, a warm free lunch for them will turn out to be a great experience for you. Until you take your employees out to a team lunch, you miss out on how awesome they actually are.
Also, it’s not a secret that appreciated employees are happy employees. Company lunches are a great medium to encourage recognition for stellar performances. When a team performs their best, a free lunch is a great way to show your appreciation.
5 Ways To Turn Team Lunches Into A Meaningful Experience
Now that you have decided to host a team lunch, you must next decide about how to make it more interesting.
This part is crucial because holding a team lunch where nobody talks to each other and eats lunch by themselves (while not talking to each other).
So, without further ado, let’s look at 5 team lunch strategies that will turn your team lunches into team building lunches.
1. Facilitate Team Bonding Through Activities
It can be a headache to find the time to conduct a full team-building activity. A team lunch is the best way to squeeze in some team bonding. It is also a great way from new hires and introverts to interact with the rest of the team.
Here are some fun team building activities that are bound to start conversations and build communication among team members:
Go around the table and have everyone write on a paper about how they would spend their last day if they knew that the Earth is ending tomorrow. They have each team member pick out a chit and guess who it might be.
What You'll Need: A list of trivia questions about your workplace.
Formulate a list of questions about your workplace and its quirks. It’s easy, nobody has to get up and will reveal employees with good
"How many people can actually remember the company’s motto?"
"How many windows are there in the entire office?"
"What brand are computer monitors?"
"What month of the year is most common for birthdays among our employees?"
Salt and Pepper
What You'll Need: Tape, a pen, a small piece of paper for each employee and a list of well-known pairs (think peanut butter and jelly, Mario and Luigi, or salt and pepper).
Instructions: Write one half of each pair on the sheets of paper (Mario on one piece, Luigi on another, and so on). Tape one paper to each person's back, then have everyone mingle and try to figure out the word on their back. They can only ask each other yes or no questions.
Once they figure out their word, they need to find the other half of their pair. When they find each other, have them sit down and find three things they have in common while the rest of the team continues.
Pair up two people and ask them to create a “startup” in 10 minutes. Their job will be to pitch their ideas to the whole team.
Learn more: What is Employee Engagement?
2. Themed Based Lunch
Have a themed based lunch at least once in a month.
The thing about theme-based lunch is that it’s amazingly flexible. The themed lunch can coincide with an upcoming birthday, work anniversary, cultural holiday or might even be something totally silly such as Mexican Monday or Trivia Tuesday.
Furthermore, you can ask employees to bring in dishes that have cultural or emotional significance to it. The act of sharing lunch will not only facilitate team bonding but also foster a sense of belonging to the company.
3. Bring On Some Entertainment
An average employee spends his lunch break surfing the Internet (52 percent) or catching up on emails (51 percent).
So it is vital that the team lunch is an event where people actually look over their phones and really connect over the simple act of breaking bread. One way to get your employees to communicate with each other at the team lunch is to bring in some good old entertainment for them.
Here are some of our favorite ideas:
Stand Up Comic
Nothing makes team bonding more easier than some laughter.
While a free lunch will certainly boost team spirits, you can elevate it by hosting karaoke nights. Karaoke nights are incredibly fun and an inexpensive option to make employees happy.
Live Musical Performance
Live music sessions are a wonderful way to ramp up your team lunch.
4. Food Fair
To take your team lunch to a whole different level, organize a “street fair”. The idea behind it is to have a bunch of food trucks (even one is fine), a musician and a fortune teller and you’re pretty much ready.
Your employees are bound to love it and will be sure to spread the word of your company culture through numerous social media channels.
5. Exchange Ideas
Though team lunches are great to conduct brainstorming sessions, do remember to keep the tone casual. Don’t put too much emphasis on such conversations, because it’ll stress out the team members and ruin the team lunch for everybody.
Allot some time for everyone to share ideas or topics of conversation. It might be something to do with the office or may even be some personal stuff. Even if people want to contribute something related to the business it should be from their side. Remember, the whole idea behind hosting a team lunch is for everyone to enjoy themselves.
Try making team lunches a priority and schedule it at least once in a month. Schedule one long hour to simply sit and eat alongside with the team members.
Team building lunches can act as the perfect team bonding activity to promote employee engagement. So don’t wait around any longer and host one, as soon as possible.
Decoding and Driving Employee Engagement