July 15, 2014
Small Perks Can Make a Big Difference to Overworked Employees

Nearly half (48 percent) of employees indicate they work late nights and weekends some or all of the time, according to our recent survey of more than 1,200 professionals. For office workers, the 40-hour work week seems to be a thing of the past. Thus, it’s increasingly  important that employers find ways to make their employees feel appreciated for their dedication – especially for those of us in the tech community fighting to attract and retain top talent. 

Research—and my own personal experience—shows that people are generally motivated to work harder by the potential for rewards or perks that make them feel appreciated. Employees that feel valued often show it in their levels of engagement and productivity.  It’s a win-win exchange that many organizations have noticed, offering their employees a range of perks such as gym memberships, food-based perks, concierge services, on-site medical staff, dry cleaning services and even massages. 

The Seamless survey found that when it comes to the perks employees are most excited about, food-based perks ranked second (38 percent) only to gym or yoga memberships (42 percent). And although more than one-quarter of employees (26 percent) indicated their companies provide some type of food-based perks, there is still room for improvement, as working later hours and on weekends becomes more commonplace for employees. 

Compared to other perks, food seems to be a relatively small offering that generates big returns. 

Food and friendship often go hand-in-hand.

A recent study from Lancaster University found that the day-to-day demands of office work result in friendships that are closer and more supportive than any other. And a simple meal together can help foster workplace friendships: half (50 percent) of our survey respondents said they think sharing meals with colleagues helps foster a better working relationship and more than half (56 percent) indicated they would eat lunch with other colleagues if lunch (or another meal) were provided by the company. 

For example, at GrubHub Inc., the leading online and mobile food ordering company where I manage the human resources (people!) department, our employees receive meal credits, as well as company-sponsored celebrations and surprise snack attacks.  Our food program has transformed employees’ meal time rituals by incentivizing colleagues to enjoy meal time together. 

Make working late more palatable.

I’ve found that employees who feel appreciated typically work harder and invest more of themselves in the business, often putting in additional effort and hours. Making it easy to access food after hours and reimbursing employees for those meals can go a long way towards saying ‘thank you.’ 

Attract and retain good people.

If a company is not careful, too many late nights and the stress of long hours can lead key talent to look for new employement. Fortunately, food-based perks can help create an environment where employees feel valued and remain loyal. Half (50 percent) of survey respondents said these perks would make them more satisfied with their employers, and nearly half (41 percent) indicated if their employer were to provide meals, they would be less inclined to accept a job offer at a company that does not. 

Bottom line? Overworked employees want to feel appreciated for their hard work. It’s important to respond with words of encouragement, gestures of thanksand rewarding perks. Perks offer an accessible way for companies to make employees feel valued, foster closer workplace relationships, and increase loyalty to the company. To download the complete survey results click here 

If you are looking to learn more about food-based perks and how to implement them at your office, join us for our Boston Lunch & Learn series on either July 23rd or 24th. Click here for more information and to RSVP. 

Source: Office colleagues may be the best friends you ever make especially if you work in a stressful environment. Retrieved from

Karen Miller is the SVP, People at GrubHub. You can follow GrubHub on Twitter @GrubHub.