When it comes to fringe benefits at work, some employers choose to put their money where your mouth is. Having an on-site cafe can be a boon for businesses -- and when the employer is footing the bill, it's a boon for you too. If your workplace has an on-site cafe, consider yourself lucky. If they don't, give them some reasons to consider adding one.
Having an on-site cafe can promote social interaction among employees at a time when social interaction is appropriate. When workers have a space in which they can dish about the daily happenings, they may be less likely to do so during work time. It may also get workers to interact socially when they may not otherwise do so, promoting healthier relationships among employees.
Not having to rush out to a restaurant off-site can reduce the amount of stress that workers experience throughout the day. The commute to and from the office is stressful enough -- so keeping workers out of their cars for more of the day can be a big help. Of course, the on-site cafe will need to serve food quickly, so as not to keep workers waiting to get their meals. Additionally, giving employees discounted rates or paying for a certain number of meals per month can ease workers' financial burdens.
When workers are consistently spending time driving to and from an off-site restaurant, they may tend to use up slightly more than the hour or half-hour they're allotted for lunch. When the cafe is on-site, they'll be spending a lot less time getting their lunches. This can lead to increased productivity, especially if those lunches are partly paid for -- it can make workers work harder since they'll know they're appreciated and their needs are being considered.
Workplace cafes can also promote a healthier staff. When workers are able to eat a "real" meal at the on-site cafe, they're less likely to grab the packaged chips and sodas that infest the vending machines. If employers really want to promote good health, they can create cafe menus that provide healthy food options that include lean protein and ample fruits and vegetables. If the foods taste good and there are lots of healthy, appealing options, the cafe can be a big draw. A workplace cafe also promotes health by getting workers away from their germ-filled desks to eat. In some cases, workers may be able to spend any left-over part of the lunch hour walking or hitting the on-site gym, further reducing their stress level and promoting health -- all leading to increased productivity and job satisfaction.
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.