This article is written to introduce the concept of Lunch and Learns and why they are valuable.
What do lunch breaks look like at your business? Do people eat in their offices, or in a staff lunchroom? Do you have a scheduled lunch time, or is it a free for all? Every business in Saskatchewan is mandated to have at least a 30min break every 5 hours of work1, so what does your staff do on theirs? These breaks are important for your employees to have some down time, to do their own thing, have a breather, go out and grab some food, or just sit there on their phone and zone out. Breaks are a chance to get away from their jobs, to give their minds a break, and provide the opportunity to come back reenergized and focused. If you are looking to elevate these breaks by giving your employees additional entertainment and an educational experience, then Lunch and Learns might be for you!
What are Lunch and Learns?
Lunch and Learns are usually voluntary meetings where the company will put on any number of presentations or training depending on their wants and needs. These events provide a chance for employees to informally sit together with colleagues and participate in sharing, learning, and collaboration. Providing food is another huge bonus, as these usually take place either on, before, or after standard lunch breaks!
Why Provide Lunch and Learns?
Lunch and Learns are a great place to fit in extra training that will boost your employees’ productivity and quality of life at work and home. This extra training can refer to skills that are helpful but not necessarily a requirement for the job, such as additional personal and professional development.
What to Learn at Lunch?
Some great ideas for Lunch and Learns could be topics such as, but not limited to:
Health and Wellness:
- Stress Management
- Goal Setting
- Understanding Sleep
- Conflict Management
- Adulting 101
Technology and Communication:
- Public Speaking Training
- Email Communications
- Microsoft Office Tips and Tricks
- Getting the most out of your Smart Phones
- Internet Security
These are just some general ideas that may be of interest at your company, but what you choose to teach should reflect the interests of your business and staff.
On that note, another culture consolidating topic to consider is learning about your company. You may be thinking, “what do you mean? They work for the company, so they must know the company!” Ask yourself, does your company consist of just one job? If you answered “no,” then there is a high chance that your staff may not fully understand the extent of your company’s operations. It’s likely that many people don’t actually know what Bill does in shipping, or what Mary does in her office. The truth is that your final product is likely known by the individuals in your company, but they may not know how everything gets from point A to Z!
Everyone has an important role to play, and understanding that can bring people closer together, create helpful recognition, and affirm value.
The great thing about Lunch and Learns is that they can be whatever you want them to be. From additional training to fun, short and sweet work socials where employees get the chance to learn about each other, the opportunities are endless!
If lunch and learns piqued your interest, please look for Part 2: Running a Lunch and Learn. We will explore how to set up, run, and get the most out of your Lunch and Learns.
1 “Work Schedules and Breaks.” Government of Saskatchewan. https://www.saskatchewan.ca/business/employment-standards/work-schedules-permits-and-modified-work-arrangements/work-schedules-and-breaks#meal-breaks-and-medical-accommodations