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Free food! Boost morale, productivity by feeding the staff

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Your organization may spring for pizza when everyone works late or buy a cake for employees’ birthdays. But employer-provided food can do more than fill the bellies of hungry staff; it can boost morale and cut down on employees’ out-of-office time, too.

Here are some creative examples:

  • Leo Burnett USA keeps a bowl of fresh, cold apples at the front desk and encourages employees to eat one a day.
  • WTOP radio in Washington, D.C., serves up a turkey dinner on Thanksgiving for employees who have to miss family celebrations.
  • Hitchcock Fleming & Associates advertising firm in Akron, Ohio, stocks an employee refrigerator with beer and sodas that workers may enjoy after 5 p.m., a practice that one manager says creates a collegial atmosphere.
  • KIRO radio in Seattle occasionally springs for restaurant gift certificates for high performers. “You can’t underestimate the power of food,” advises news director Ursula Reutin.

Tip: If food is a frequent freebie, keep it healthy, at least most of the time. The boss of a baked goods company brags that most of his employees gain 10 pounds on the job.  

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