The company where you work is not only your place of work, it is also somewhere where social relationships and friendships happen. For that matter, many managers are looking into promoting solidarity and a good working environment within their team because they are confident that it will have an impact on the productivity of the company. That is the reason why “eating together” with colleagues is something that companies really wish for. It has become something normal that generates lots of benefits. If you’re one of those people who eat alone in front of your desk, think about going to the cafeteria from time to time to take lunch with your colleagues. Having lunch, sharing a good meal with your colleagues seated around a table, is the perfect opportunity to talk about work and what we have done during the weekend. It provides exchanges and good spirit. According to the 2016 survey from Cornell University, it also stimulates teamwork.
This study revealed that most of the time, employees who eat together are more likely to work together than those who eat alone. Teamwork is not the only advantage that comes out of sharing lunch with colleagues: it is a good alternative to team building which is “ very costly, but mostly it requires a lot of employees to do activities with their colleagues during their free time” explains Kevin Kniffin, a behavioral researcher. With that in mind, many companies set up cafeterias inside their buildings to uplift that friendly practice and encourage employees to go there and sit at a table around colleagues.
However, you can’t force relationships among people because it could be counter productive. So, even though eating with colleagues has plenty of benefits, we shouldn’t force things to happen. It should come naturally… Actually just because you share a lunch with colleagues doesn’t mean that teamwork and harmony will get better and that workers will like each other better or work better together.
Quite to the contrary, eating by yourself could also be a good thing. Everybody is not always ready to handle conversations about each and others during lunch, which also represents a relaxing moment where you find yourself again. From this study from the University of Toronto, it is especially important to let people choose what they want to do. You can’t force anybody to be with others. Anyway, it is up to you to choose who you want to eat with. You can also choose both options and go back and forth as you want it, by eating alone once a week for example.