Office community is a key factor in workplace retention, employee satisfaction, and overall company success. The workweek always has a million moving parts. Everyone at your company likely has their own projects, wins, losses, and frustrations. If your office is anything like ours, you and your coworkers spend the majority of your days at your computers. Workplace celebrations may be the furthest things from your mind.
But that’s exactly why your office needs these celebrations. In fact, sometimes, the best thing you can do as a company is to take a step back and come together. According to Endless, workplace celebrations help:
Validate your employees
Boost company morale
Create a better, more focused team
That isn’t to say you have to throw a workplace celebration every week, or that you have to have a huge budget in order to do so. With a push from your office catering program, you can make your employees feel valued – without breaking the bank.
The advantage of tangible workplace celebrations
Workplace celebrations are important, but they’re of little value if the employees at your company don’t feel valued. Everyone likes gratitude. But public, tangible gratitude stands our and bolsters spirits more than “thank you” ever could.
That’s because public workplace celebrations show your gratitude to the whole team. It’s more than a simple “thank you.” With a workplace celebration, you’re demonstrating your gratitude to the whole team. The person who did the work gets to feel good, but beyond just that one person – everyone else gets some happiness too.
Taken a step further, gratitude is even more notable when there’s something tangible attached to it. Whether it’s a personalized card or cake, offering something in thanks shows you put effort into the thank you. It’s a mirror of the effort your coworkers put into their own work, and a more memorable thank you as a result.
Not only are public celebrations more valuable than private ones; they also work to strengthen company culture. When you host a party, do a shout-out, or bring a cake to work, everyone gets to participate in the event. It’s like standing at the top of a hill and shouting “this is what our company values.”
The nitty-gritty: how much is expressing gratitude really worth?
Ok, so you can throw a workplace celebration with tangible, public value – but do you have to? Other than being fun, do workplace celebrations matter all that much?
(PS: we know admins are culture powerhouses and this may not be your question. But you may encounter this question while pitching an office celebration. We get it. CEOs need to think about the bottom line, and parties can often seem like a big dollar sign with little to no value for the company as a whole).
It comes back to how gratitude is recieved
The thing is – the way gratitude is expressed is different from the way gratitude is received. Everyone receives love and appreciation differently, especially when it comes to hard work. Managers may feel like they’ve expressed appreciation for their employees, yet employees may not actually feel valued. “Too often, leaders assume gratitude is implied, or they save positive feedback for when they need to soften the blow of constructive criticism.”
But consistent, acknowledged, and visible gratitude has a notable impact on employee satisfaction and retention. In fact, one study by O.C. Tanner revealed that employees want some form of recognition every 7 days.
We’re not advocating for weekly workplace celebrations. In fact, doing so would likely reduce their impact. But we do want to draw out the difference between employee wants and manager perspective. According to the same study, slightly over half of senior management think their company is above average at appreciation. Only 23% of their staff felt the same way.
To fight this type of miscommunication, consider creating gratitude traditions. At Chewse, for instance, we gather every Friday at 4 pm for Attitudes of Gratitude. For 30 minutes, we privately then publicly thank our coworkers for things they’ve helped us with in the past week. We also hold monthly Syssitia events to more concretely connect and celebrate.
We know company leaders may have several “But…”s to add when it comes to expressing gratitude. Here’s how it stacks up.
If your CFO is hesitant: Gratitude boost retention
Expressing gratitude will make your employees feel more engaged – which ultimately impacts the bottom line. In one recent study, “highly engaged employees were 87 percent less likely to leave their companies than their disengaged counterparts.” In another study, 79% of employees said lack of appreciation was one of the main reasons they left their job.
If your HR department is hesitant: Gratitude counteracts job creep
Nearly every modern employee has felt the impact of job creep. With portable laptops and 24/7 access to email and Slack, employees are always accessible. Most people admit to checking their email first thing in the morning – often before they even get out of bed. Yet all this work that happens outside of the office isn’t visible. As a result, employees worry that their managers perceive them as less hardworking than they actually are. A recent study found that 20% of Americans thought their manager would think they weren’t hardworking if they took a lunch break. This type of concern lowers productivity and is terrible for office morale.
Workplace celebrations are your office’s way of bringing employees’ hard work to the forefront. What’s more, when you celebrate that work as a team, you’re creating authentic connection in your office. Your employees feel heard, and as a result – valued.
If your employees are hesitant: Gratitude boost engagement, impacts creativity, and reduces workplace loneliness
Sometimes the strongest opposition comes from your coworkers themselves. When you feel swamped, a workplace celebration does not sound appealing. It can feel hard to disconnect from your screen (especially when the emails don’t stop coming!). But connecting with the people around you makes employees more engaged. They’re more likely to value (and feel valued at) your company for longer.
The thing is, we spent most of our week in the office, surrounded by coworkers we may or may not know super well. In modern workplaces, most employees sit at their computers for most of the day. As a result, face-to-face interaction is down and workplace loneliness is at an all-time high.
Office community is the best way to offset workplace loneliness. Further, workplace celebrations are the most concentrated form of healthy office community. So if your coworkers feel too swamped to attend a workplace celebration, now might be a great time to gently encourage them to come hang out anyways.
So: workplace celebrations matter. How can you throw great ones?
For most companies, offering a gift card when someone does something well might add up. Large-scale office celebrations like hitting goals or finishing the year also throw a wrench into the situation. You could default to personal letters, but we know you already have enough on your plate. How can you celebrate your employees, stay under budget, make everyone feel acknowledged, and throw a heck of a workplace celebration?
Office catering: public and tangible
Food is the universal human connector. Connecting over a meal is the best way to encourage employees to get to know each other on a personal level. It gives them the opportunity to develop their relationship within and across teams. Family-style office catering, in particular, boosts engagement. That’s because, when employees share the same meal, they feel more connected to their coworkers. For more information about the benefits of an office catering program, download our eBook today.
But workplace celebrations go beyond daily office community-building. They’re an opportunity to elevate your office community and reinforce your company values. Studies even show that sharing the same food with someone else reduces friction and makes negotiation easier (not that we advocate for negotiation during workplace celebrations, just some good old fashioned fun).
Connecting around office catering
When you rally around food, everyone has a central connection point. New employees who might not feel comfortable mixing with other teams can meet one or two people at a time around food or drinks. Employees from different teams or different levels get the chance to be on the same playing field, and everyone is in a good mood because, well, who doesn’t love food?
Beyond the simple act of providing food, catering workplace celebrations is a way to elevate these celebrations. Yes, you could grab some chips and set up some beer, but why not go a little more elaborate with sliders, arepas, or boba? “Company events help employees feel engaged because they are valued and can see the bigger picture. Instead of just being stuck in their cubicles, they can connect with the rest of the company. They can see the importance of their position and the time and energy that went into that event.”
No matter what type of food celebration you’re looking for, we’ve got you covered. Craving some cupcakes or ice cream sandwiches for a birthday celebration? Look no further than Chewse treats catering. Looking for something more savory, like happy hour snacks? Our happy hour catering will delight.
If you’re still looking for some workplace celebration ideas, we’ve got several suggestions – try one out at your next workplace celebration!
Whether you’re celebrating a retirement or a promotion – or even, as we’ve seen some offices do, a “graduation” from the company – happy hour catering offers you options a step above the rest. With Chewse, enjoy Slider Bar in Silicon Valley or Lotus Chinese bao buns in Austin. Order some wines or beer, sit back with Chewse, and enjoy!
If you want to host a more complete experience, try celebrating with dinner celebration. Whether your team just hit their goals for the quarter or you’re commiserating after a hard week, enjoy American BBQ Classics from Sheffield’s Wine & Beer Garden in Chicago or Los Angeles’s Rice Box.
Want to integrate your workplace celebration into your day? Try hosting a catered lunch feast to celebrate opening a new office or bring your kid to work day – just to name a few. Even if you regularly dine with Chewse lunch catering, talk to your Account Manager about scheduling a special meal for a special day – like Bevri’s Georgian (only Georgian restaurant in the Bay Area!) classics in Silicon Valley or WesBurger ‘N’ More in San Francisco.
With workplace celebrations, it all comes back to appreciation
Workplace celebrations, boosted by office catering, are a great way to show appreciation. When you gather around the table, you’re providing a public meeting place for all of your coworkers to celebrate. You’re also offering a tangible product – in this case, food – to reinforce the importance of the work that was accomplished.
As far as we’re concerned, office managers are the superheroes that keep workplace community thriving. But you don’t have to go it alone! With Chewse, your dedicated Account Manager and our stellar Help Desk will help you find the best catering option for your celebration. Whether you’re looking for a variety of ice cream sandwiches or hoping to keep it simple with some cheese for your happy hour, Chewse office catering makes these celebrations hassle-free.