Hey Bosses!

Showing Beats Telling

Another big thank you to Evan Johnson @  Ellida Photo  for this one.

Another big thank you to Evan Johnson @ Ellida Photo for this one.

This article is just one of a ton that talk about how much people appreciate being appreciated at work. (Are we surprised by this?) Lots of places have some kind of formal system to show appreciation for the work people do, but do people hear that they are appreciated just for being...themselves?

A “loud” message probably won’t work as well as one that’s sincere. Something honest and simple—like Box Lunch Lifestyle—could be a great way to show, not tell, your team they matter as people. It isn’t complicated, expensive, or risky. It’s just lunch. You don’t need the board to sign off on this. You could start tomorrow. And when you start encouraging people to make their own food and take time for themselves—and do it yourself—your team will hear messages like these: 

 “I appreciate that you need to refuel. I’ll help make sure you have some time to eat (and hopefully something better for you than cheap takeout pizza).”

 “I think you’re worth investing in, so this time is yours to do something that matters to you as a person.”

“You should feel strong at the end of the day—not exhausted—and taking a real lunch break will help. What you do after the work day ends matters, too.”

By not subtly sending this message, aren’t you subtly NOT sending this message?

When you’re ready to see this kind of please-take-care-of-yourself change happen where you work, let me know. I’d love to help. 

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Keeping the Team Whole

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I just read that roughly one in four U.S. workers left their jobs last year. That’s a LOT of people not finding what they need at work. And it means that in 2018 employers paid over $600 billion in turnover costs. Ouch. 

It’s hard to know why these people are leaving, but I know why I left my last job: I felt like I had to choose to be either my authentic self or a “good” employee. Most days, I felt invisible, and eventually Authentic Me got tired of hoping my workplace would value more than just my productivity. I wanted to matter as an individual human and not just as another name on the org chart.

Maybe that’s why the gig economy and side hustles seem so attractive: true or not, they feel more personal. You have some autonomy, and instead of hearing only the company’s story from Day 1, you have a better shot at getting to tell your own. There must be something to gig/side options if 57 million people are now choosing them over traditional full-time work.

I don’t think it has to be so hard to find—or create—a workplace that’s just a little more human. That’s what Box Lunch Lifestyle does: it helps redefine work culture starting with lunch. As some of you know, Box Lunch Lifestyle encourages employees to make the most of their lunch break by packing a healthy lunch and taking a small step toward a goal they’ve never had time to act on. When people bring homemade food to work and take a break to do something personally meaningful, it reminds them in the midst of the day’s chaos that they are people before they are coders or nurses. And when the boss actively encourages and practices it herself, employees have proof that the organization cares about making a small but real investment in their whole selves. Whether they’re recent grads or new grandparents, workers have the freedom and opportunity to get what they need most that day. 

A lunch break with the potential to be more nourishing than just food is a perk that adds virtually nothing to the company’s bottom line, and it could go a long way towards earning workplace loyalty. It’s simple, daily evidence in the belief that a better You means a better Us.



How the Boss Eats

Thank you, Ellida Photo. I think Bruce would LOVE this.

Thank you, Ellida Photo. I think Bruce would LOVE this.

Hey bosses!

People notice your habits, and what you do about lunch has an impact on workplace culture. No matter what you tell your team, if nobody ever sees you taking a break, they’ll believe that taking breaks is a no-no. And without that break, the odds of productive, everyone-getting-along afternoons are slim.

Lunch is also a chance to connect. If you’re eating lunch in a common area, Joan will tell you that her daughter turned seven yesterday, and it’s more likely you’ll hear that Zach’s mom has breast cancer. Maybe Cynthia will finally pitch that really interesting idea to you that she wouldn’t otherwise.

I get that it isn’t easy to defend this time, because I’ve been a boss, too. But as much as your people need a good lunch, sometimes the boss needs a break even more. So eat some lunch, take a deep breath. and remind yourself that no matter how much responsibility or pressure you feel at work, you’re a human first.

And if taking a better lunch break sounds impossible or uncool, rumor has it that Bruce Springsteen brings his lunch to work. If THE Boss does, it’s just not possible to be uncool.