January… It’s dark, cold and miserable. The Christmas festivities are over, and everyone sits around desperately waiting for Spring. The only chances of any productivity are from the New Year’s resolutions, but this can quickly dwindle with the weight of the January blues. It’s especially difficult to stay motivated when the sugar highs are over, and the piles of chocolate and sherry are replaced by kale…
So what can managers and HR teams do to keep their employees’ spirits high and kick-start their productivity for the long term?
Food glorious food
Many employees start January with a plan to eat healthily and cut back from the over-indulgence of Christmas. So why not get on board and use these sentiments to create a new employee engagement activity?
Get your team working on a shared goal with exciting, healthy lunches. Just like the Christmas buffets and festive fuddles, your team can enjoy shared lunches, each contributing something to the pot - in this case literally. Buddha bowls are a great way to get all the necessary vegetables and proteins and this one-pot meal can be shared to give your team something healthy to look forward to.
There are some basic guidelines to follow:
- If you can, grab a slow cooker which does all the work for you. Fill it with quinoa and turn it on when your team arrives at work. By lunch time, your base is all ready to go. If you can’t bring heavy machinery into the workplace, you can take it in turns to cook up a batch the night before. And if quinoa isn’t your thing, brown rice is also an option.
- Each team member can grab some of your chosen carbohydrate base and top it up with their own creations. This could be leftovers from the night before, or you could all agree to bring in a fresh ingredient to add to the pot.
- The key is to create a heathy, balanced meal with carbs, proteins and green veggies that each team member can help to create, take part in and enjoy.
- Great team work, great food, and a great way to keep energy levels up to keep your team working at their best.
And if you need a recipe to kick-start your inspiration, MHR’s in-house Chef Ollie has a great recommendation for a healthy lunch for your return to work. It’ll even add some extra warmth to your cold January.
Shredded chicken (or Smoked tofu) bowl with chill herb broth
- Chicken breast x1 or smoked tofu
- Long grain Rice 200g
- Chicken or veg stock 100ml
- Coriander bunch
- Basil bunch
- Garden peas frozen 50g
- Garlic 2 clove
- Chilli (smoked or birds eye works well) to taste
- Cashew nuts as an option.
- Roast the chicken until cooked and leave to go cold before shredding. For a veggie alternative, sauté some smoked tofu instead and set aside.
- Chop up all the herbs and mix in with the frozen peas.
- If you can’t slow cook at work, cook your rice and rinse under cold water until cold. Top with the chicken and veggies and leave for the morning.
- To make the broth, make up your chicken or veg stock then grate your garlic and add to the stock with your chilli (add to taste). Leave to go cold.
- When eating the next day, heat up the broth and pour over the rice. Then add the nuts (optional).
With this simple recipe, there’s plenty of flexibility for your team to add or remove ingredients to suit them.
As work/life balance becomes more important than ever for HR teams in 2019, show you care with employee engagement activities that fit your people’s personal goals. Not only will shared lunches help to boost team morale, with healthy ingredients it will help to provide the right nourishment to encourage prolonged productivity throughout the afternoon.
Part 2 discusses the science behind the happiness good food can provide, with a few bonus recipes for office snacking.