In the run up to Mental Health Week, Helen Tiffany, MD and founder of Bec Development, launches the Hi Table and explains why your workplace mealtimes should be more than just eat and run. Plus, a chance to win £50 to spend on your office lunch!
When was the last time you sat down and had lunch, I don’t mean a quick avo’ sandwich from Pret whilst sitting at your desk. I mean something in a bowl, or on a plate that you ate with someone? You know – old school lunch.
A while back I was working with a client in Paris and at midday the office emptied quicker than you can say Black Friday sales… Everyone had gone to lunch.
Do a spot of research on the benefits of lunch and we discover it helps with our focus, renews our energy and keeps our metabolism active. Yes, we know this, I hear you say. But what else?
Getting around the table
Sitting down with those we would like to influence is also better over lunch. Yale researchers explored the neuroscience of eating lunch and doing business and, no surprise to hear, the three main findings were:
- our pitch is more persuasive with lunch
- negotiations are more impactful when socializing
- lunch invoked reciprocity and good will.
The psychological benefits
But while all of the above are important and good for us, the big reason to stop, sit down and eat with someone is psychological.
I bet that over the last 12 months alone, every single one of us has heard sad stories of colleagues suffering with stress, depression, anxiety and worse. So let’s do some simple things to help.
- According to the Mental Health Foundation eating lunch together provides us with a sense of familiarity and a feeling of contentment – we need more of this in our busy lives.
- As humans we also like routine and lunchtimes punctuate our day and force us to stop.
- Eating together with a colleague or friend can also allow us to feel listened to, share our challenges and successes and also listen to others.
Launching the Hi Table
So, our proposal to you is to dedicate a table in your canteen, restaurant, café, break out area… and reserve it for people who’d like to chat over lunch. You may have been chatting to Josh on the second floor for 6 months but never met. Maybe you’ve had a great idea and want to get someone on board. Or you’d just like to tell a friend it’s been a tough morning. The Hi Table is a space to connect, eat and share. Say Hi to an old friend or a brand new colleague.
Mental Health Awareness Week
Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, Mental Health Awareness Week is an annual event and in 2019 will take place from Monday 13th to Sunday 19th May.
Help us spread the word. Between now and this year’s The Big Lunch, you get a chance to win £50 to spend on lunch at your Hi Table. The Big Lunch was launched in 2009 as a way of getting all sort of communities talking round the lunch table. This year it takes place on June 1st and 2nd and millions take part.
All you have to do is post a picture of people at your Hi Table on Twitter by June 2nd using the hashtag #hitable2019. Our panel of foody judges will pick the best one and the winners will receive £50 to spend on an office lunch.
Getting started – your Hi Table kit
If you need help getting your Hi Table off the ground we’ve created some fun resources. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, put Hi in the Subject line and we’ll get them to you.