Corporate Events: Not Another Boring Work Lunch!
In this guest post, Kim Jones talks about working lunches and how catering can be used to help focus on outcomes.
Well, I remember very well when my boss would give me a project with a tight deadline. My thoughts would race… “How am I going to deliver a global program for employees with sensational outcomes?” Out would come my GANTT chart ready to capture time, tasks and people. “How do I engage everyone and bring them on the journey?”
With short deadlines and your team working on multiple projects, it’s really important to have your team giving priority to your project. One of the best ways to evoke a positive response is to invite your team to a working lunch. Why? Some reasons are that working lunches may:
- Sometimes, lunchtime is the only time that is available when a large team’s availability is limited
- It takes your team out of the normal style of meeting
- Encourages people to be more open
- Eating while you work makes the atmosphere more casual and open
- Free meal! Saves your team buying their own lunches!
- Helps to make use of every moment when time is of the essence
But beware that working lunches have been done to death and bad catering experiences can completely undermine the purpose of a working lunch.
So here are a few pointers.
Not boring sandwiches!
Sometimes the thought of another boring working lunch brings terror and annoyance to some team members because they may:
- hate what’s offered for lunch – “how can I focus on work when I would never eat this type of food”
- can’t eat a particular type of food be allergic/sensitive to what is offered
- drop the food down their front and are incredibly embarrassed, or
- realise that their food etiquette is under scrutiny by their boss and are incredibly embarrassed.
As mentioned in a previous blog, life, if you didn’t realise, revolves around food! There is an art to weaving emotions into the preparation even a simple meal.
So for a working lunch, here’s the recipe:
- Add to the bowl a mix of corporate hearts who want to deliver a project
- Ask attendees in advance to select from a menu that accommodates any allergies
- Add food that is interesting and healthy that hits the spot!
Here are some tips to make your working lunch add to the success of your project outcomes:
Give yourself plenty of time to find the right service provider who can deliver the right catering to your working lunch.
Have the catering set up to the side before the meeting.Start your meeting with hot drinks. Research shows that people are more likely to pay attention and be comfortable after a hot drink. Very little in life can’t be improved by putting the kettle on.
How about a well-deserved office coffee outing to one of our favourite cafes at the Australian National Maritime Museum on the Harbour or the beautiful State Library NSW?
Don’t burn your lips! Sitting down with a hot drink with your working lunch, while talking a project through, slows the pace of discussion. It takes longer to drink hot drink. As you sip, it gives you time to listen to others or talk to the people you’re with about the program.
Make your working lunch work!
So make your working lunch deliver your project outcomes by adding food that works. There’s a lot to do and partnering with the right service provider will make the lunch simple and successful.
More about the author
Kim Jones is a non executive director on private company, government and not-for-profit boards.
Kim is also a management consultant, with more than 30 years experience with roles including superannuation trustee, investor relations and communications specialist with ASX100 institutional fund managers and financial services companies. The earlier part of her career was spent as a marine scientist, high school teacher as well as promoting new technology at the University of New South Wales.
Kim holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree from the University of Sydney, a Graduate Diploma of Education, and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD).