Key takeaways from our Global Eating at Work survey
At Eurest, we're not just serving meals; we're crafting an employee experience. Discovering what drives your team, understanding their motivations and catering to their culinary preferences are vital ingredients in our workplace solutions. To get to grips with what’s really important to employees post pandemic, our parent brand Compass Group collaborated with the intelligence agency, Mintel, to carry out a Global Eating at Work (GEAW) survey.
Since 2023, this comprehensive study has served valuable perspectives on the workplace food offering and its impact on health, mental wellbeing and productivity. The survey also reveals generational nuances, shedding light on evolving expectations from employers. Being such an extensive piece of research, we’ve cherry-picked what we believe are the biggest takeaways for employer consideration and dished them out below.
An on-site restaurant is a great tool for talent attraction
Gen Z is reshaping workplace dynamics. The youngest professionals in the workforce, Gen Z employees prioritise employers who provide high-quality, healthy, sustainable and digitally enabled food options. The survey reveals that 71% of UK Gen Z believe an on-site staff restaurant signifies employer care, influencing 65% in their choice of joining a company. This shift prompts businesses to consider workplace food services as a necessary tool for talent attraction, retention and motivation.
Employees want employers that support their personal values
In the ever-evolving world of contemporary work culture, pursuing a fulfilling career is proving as important as financial compensation, with young employees increasingly prioritising shared values in their professional journeys. The post-pandemic workforce has revealed a profound shift in priorities, with a focus on social connections, health and the environment in the UK.
Globally, consumers are prepared to take action, with 55% ready to boycott unethical companies and 64% favouring workplaces aligned with their values. In the talent war, employees seek employers who support their values, with 60% scrutinising benefits and 70% of Gen Z feeling strongly on this aspect. Diversity, equality and inclusion is crucial, with over half of employees advocating for paid days off to volunteer for charity.
In the UK, environmental policies matter to 54%, reaching 71% among Gen Z, while sustainability, wellbeing initiatives and support during the cost-of-living crisis make top of the list.
Employers should encourage full lunch breaks
In the quest for workplace productivity, UK employees spend less than 33 minutes on their main lunch break, often skipping it altogether. However, a striking 73% believe a lunch break enhances productivity, with 82% endorsing regular breaks for sustained effectiveness.
The competition with home comforts is evident, as 37% feel workplaces lack suitable breakout areas, while only 24% provide on-site staff restaurants. Offering brilliant networking potential, facilities like employee restaurants foster socialisation, with 70% of people sharing lunches in contrast to 38% in workplaces without such amenities.
People want help eating healthier at work
The widespread adoption of remote work since the global pandemic has reshaped the professional landscape, presenting advantages and challenges. Despite good intentions, over half of UK workers, especially those working from home, struggle with healthy eating, with 52% confessing to indulging in unhealthy snacks during their workday. Notably, the study shows a positive trend among hybrid workers, with 67% making a conscious effort to eat healthier in the office. Employers can play a role in supporting their workforce by fostering community and promoting healthier options in-office.
Efficient, tech-driven dining is in demand
In the ever-evolving landscape of workplace eating is a growing employee appetite for technology-driven and efficient dining experiences. 77% of employees seek increased autonomy and flexibility, driven by a desire for workplaces to seamlessly integrate diverse working and eating preferences.
Recognising the impact of nutrition on wellbeing and productivity, 66% of employees emphasise the importance of what they eat at work, with 85% endorsing regular breaks. This highlights the need for employers to provide quick access to healthy food while facilitating proper breaks, a goal achievable through cutting-edge food technology.
Technology emerges as a solution to the proximity challenge, with mobile apps, digital kiosks and smart vending enabling convenient pre-ordering, menu browsing and self-checkout to preserve valuable break time.
Here to fuel employee satisfaction
At Eurest, we use research and years of insight to design bespoke, workplace food solutions that give your employees something to come to work for. Our food and drink services promise to promote employee wellbeing, collaboration and productivity while helping you meet your sustainability goals.