The Link Between Productivity And Refreshments

April 4, 2016

In marketing materials we often tout the idea of productivity associated with vending, office coffee service and micro market service. It’s an understandable connection. After all, when locations provide snacks, food and beverages to their employees, it allows them to eat on-site and therefore, not waste time (be unproductive) on traveling to get those essential meals and refreshments. However, is there data to prove this relationship? Turns out there is.

Benefits and happiness

I recently came across a study from October 2015 that shows that happy people are more productive. The study: Happiness and productivity: Understanding the happy-productive worker, reports that making people happy results in a measurable improvement in their productivity. The study used two different forms of happiness-inspiring events. One was a comedy video clip and the other was $2 worth of free food and beverages. While the second experiment was with a smaller sample size, the free refreshment actually increased productivity 20 percent, at least for the short-term. For those who were shown the comedy clip, productivity increased 10-12 percent over those who did the same tasks. Regardless of what inspired the happiness, the results were clear. The happier someone was, the more work they did.

But how do locations make employees happy? MetLife’s 13th Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends study talks about how the number of employee benefits offered at a company affects how much they like their place of work, which is certainly an aspect of happiness. The more benefits, the more positive employees are about their employer. Big benefits like insurance and compensation are important, but when employees could name more than 11 benefits they were offered, they were the most loyal and appreciative of their work. Benefits like breakroom refreshment, i.e. office coffee or free snacks, can really add up and are more affordable than other types of benefits, such as free daycare. MetLife also indicated that keeping employees was important to a large percentage of companies, 41.1 percent, as was increasing productivity, 35.1 percent.

Collaboration as a productivity tool

Google offers another productivity lesson related to refreshment. In an article titled The Real Reason Google Serves All That Free Food, the author argues that the free refreshments and other perks aren’t so much to keep employees at work, or even happy, but to increase collaboration. It’s this intercommunication between departments and people that leads to successful, and often monetarily profitable, innovations.
Productivity remains a buzzword with decision makers, but when you sit down to really go through the benefits of the services you offer and how it can benefit them, remember to expand the idea not only to keeping employees in the office, but making them happier and increasing collaboration. These have been shown to increase productivity and revenues and will impress your customers.