Pros And Cons Of Providing Free Office Snacks To Employees

Daniel Spielberger
May 13, 2019

Anyone who has worked in an office will tell you that towards the late afternoon, it is not uncommon to experience a dip in your energy. After hours of working (and often shortly after eating lunch), many of us require an extra snack or caffeine to give us a boost in energy to help get us through the rest of the day.

To help prevent that late afternoon drop in energy around the office, many companies have opted to offer free office snacks to their employees. If you’re wondering whether or not you should provide office snacks and/or beverages to your employees, understanding the pros and cons of doing so will help you make the right decision for your company.

Pros of providing free office snacks

Here are some of the benefits of providing free office snacks to your employees:

1. Snacks Are Great For Workplace Culture

Have you ever had a really good snack on a very bad day? Didn’t it make it — at the very least — a tiny bit better? There’s nothing like digging into some chocolate, candy, or Doritos in the midst of having a lot of stress. When you have food at the office, you’re implicitly telling your coworkers that you care about their happiness and want them to be as productive as possible.

Additionally, providing snacks to your employees send the message that you place a strong emphasis on workplace culture and employee happiness. According to a 2015 survey, 67% of employees who have food at their office consider themselves to be “extremely” or “very” happy with their career. Workplace happiness is a hard egg to crack — over half of Americans with jobs are unhappy. Why not implement something that has been proven to make things a little better?

2. Employees Don’t Have To Leave The Office

Having employees that are frequently going in and out of the office can be really distracting for your workplace. But chances are if you don’t feed your employees, they will probably go out of their way to not feel hungry. Providing food can ensure that employees stay in the office instead of leaving to buy snacks.

3. Great For Sustaining Productivity

There’s a wide consensus that having an empty stomach isn’t great for productivity. Workplace unproductivity is a serious issue. By having food readily available for your employees, you will be helping them sustain their productivity and minimize the chance of them burning out.

4. Make Team Meetings More Enticing

Do your colleagues groan when they learn that they have to go to yet another meeting? Providing food at meetings can make these group syncs a lot more bearable and enjoyable. This could also be a great opportunity to make them make them spontaneous and enticing.

Imagine this: every week, your team eats a new meal together — sushi, pizza, cheese and crackers. Yes, meetings will still be meetings. But we can assure you that your colleagues will be way more enthusiastic if there’s something to munch on. You could even make it a potluck and have people bring their own delicious treat once a week.

5. Promote Company Health

When you picture workplace snacks, you probably are envisioning bowls of M&Ms, Frito Lays, Cheetos, and pretzels. But snacks don’t have to be unhealthy. In fact, having snacks at your office can be part of a broader initiative to promote company health. If you have a health conscious office, here are a few snacks you should consider ordering:

6. Potential To Celebrate Holidays

Regardless of how many decorations you put up at the office, nothing beats enjoying the holidays with your family and friends. However, bringing some holiday-themed snacks to the office can make the mood more lively and festive. This could also be a way to make your workplace more inclusive by guaranteeing that you have food for all holidays.

Cons of providing free office snacks

Here are some of the possible drawbacks of providing free office snacks to your employees:

1. It Can Get Pretty Messy

The moment you bring food to the office, a mess becomes inevitable. Even if you try your best to eat as neatly as possible, at least one employee will have some sort of accident that will definitely take a while to clean up. On top of that, there’s no guarantee that all employees will clean up their messes and be mindful. Though you can help mitigate this problem by establishing clearly set rules, this could easily become an unwanted stress for your workplace.

2. Employees Can Get Greedy

When you provide free snacks, you will have to be prepared for the chance that some employees might take advantage of the system and take too many treats or secretly take them home. This could make for an uncomfortable scenario: having complimentary food is meant to make your workplace more fun, but having to confront a colleague who is eating significantly more snacks than other colleagues can be uncomfortable.

3. It Will Be Hard To Please Everyone

You will likely have to purchase this food in bulk, requiring at least some consensus amongst colleagues. Though you could try to please everyone, there might be an employee who feels left out because they couldn’t find enough people to express interest in their snack. Yes, this might seem petty and trivial. But it’s surprising how little things could add up into some serious conflict.

4. Dangerous For Employees With Allergies

Having a relaxed food policy opens up the possibility that an employee with an allergy will be unsafe. It will be difficult to regulate what food goes in and out of the office. If a couple of employees have a nut allergy, you could simply not order any foods that contain nuts. However, your office will have to be very diligent, mindful, and careful.  

5. It Can Be Costly

Sometimes, a company needs to do some serious budget cuts. Having a generous snack policy can quickly result in hefty costs. Providing food for your employees might make them happy but you will have to consider that there may be a time where you will have to cut back.

Are you interested in making your workplace more efficient? Check out what Eden’s Workplace Management Platform can do for your office.

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