When Work Provides Lunch, an Added Benefit

One thing that I always look for in a company is what are the added benefits you get from working for them.  Do some of them offer tuition reimbursement, do they provide free lunch one or more days each week or do they have in house child care for free?  Sometimes when a company cannot afford to be competitive on salary, there are other things that can make up for it and make the job the right fit for you.  We’ll use a company provided lunch for an example since Jobfox buys lunch for their employees at the corporate office each Wednesday.

It’s great that companies provide people with lunch, it not only benefits the company because many people choose not to leave for lunch and will work extra since they are eating at their desks, but some people go to a conference room or the lunch room and it becomes a social thing.

When employees socialize with each other it can be a positive thing because the employees build a relationship with each other and sometimes talk about their jobs.  It helps everyone learn what everyone else does and also works as an idea generation session.  Not only do ideas get generated but it adds life to an atmosphere where people may never interact and only show up because they have to, not because they want to.  Another benefit of a company providing lunch is that it helps the employees save money.

In DC it seems like people will probably spend between $5 and $50 on lunch each day.  We’ll use $15 because it is somewhere in the middle.  If your company provides you with lunch one day a week, that means you are saving $7 each week.  If you work 50 weeks each year (assuming you take 2 weeks off for vacation) your company has now saved you $500, and that’s after taxes so it’s actually a little bit more.  That money could be used for savings, for a car payment or for part of a trip.  It actually helps to make up for some of the money you may not have gotten if you were hoping for a larger salary.

Some of the fun benefits that companies offer can actually be extremely beneficial to other aspects of your life if you really think about it.  If companies offer you free childcare or work from home days, think about the money you save from having to pay for someone to watch your kids as well as the money saved from gas and public transportation.  It also helps to give you a better work/life ratio since you’ll be able to see your kids and your home a bit more, if you are the type of person who enjoys work from home days.

Think about what the companies you are applying to offer as extra benefits.  If they can’t offer you the salary you want, think about how they will actually help you save money or create a better work/life situation for you.  It’s amazing how much these small things add up and really help to turn a good job into a great job.  Recruiters can also use these benefits and outline the savings and lifestyle benefits when trying to pitch a potential candidate who may be a little pricey, not to mention it makes it sound like your company is a cool company to work for.

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