Catered breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you’re one of the lucky people who work in Silicon Valley, these meals are everyday luxuries. But what happened to snack? When was the last time you had a scheduled snack time?
You may flash back to the hazy days of kindergarten in which you sat down with your mates and communally consumed goldfish crackers and juice boxes, but in recent memory, snack has become a fend-for-yourself free for all. There’s the familiar pantry, piled high with every flavor of Doritos, jerky, and trail mix, or the vending machine that deposits crumbly, packaged cookies. Snack, in contrast to your three square meals, is an unpolished, informal entity thats been given the shaft.
At Bright however, we’ve seen that a formalized snack time is more impactful to our happiness and productivity as adults than when we were of playground age.
The experiment began a couple months back, when Valerie, Bright’s badass, do-all office admin, started laying out a prepared tray of snacks at a specific time in the late afternoon, in addition to our always-available pantry of snacks. The snack tray assortment changes every day, but some sample snacks include cheese and crackers, chips and guacamole, tater tots, mini pita pizzas with veggies on top, etc. Some cut-up fruits and veggies are also always part of the spread.
Since we started having scheduled snack time, Bright folks are overall happier and more productive towards the end of the day. We work an average 30min – 1 hour longer because we aren’t shuffling home due to exhaustion and hunger. That equates to around a 15% increase in productive work time.
So here are our key takeaways on why scheduled snack time works as a motivator and productivity enhancer:
Everyone eats better than if left on their own
A snack platter with tasty, freshly prepared food is more satisfying than snacking on a bag of Doritos (for most of us), and for those who starve themselves until dinner, seeing good snack options laid out incentivizes us to eat something. The end result is that not only do more people snack; more people eat a healthier snack.
Snack > Catered Dinner
The reality is that most of us do want to eventually go home at the end of the day. Kids, significant others, the latest episode of Homeland on your Tivo—all legitimate reasons for wanting to be home. So for many, dinner isn’t something we want to eat at work. Snack time, on the other hand, is the perfect tide-over to ensure that you’re finishing the day with a productive bang without committing to living at work.
Snacks are inexpensive and easy to provide
Catered meals can easily run upwards of $10/person. Providing platters of cheese, crackers, fruits, and veggies costs less than $0.75/person and 15 minutes of someone’s time.
Snacktime is the perfect time for a breather
When everyone snacks at around the same time, snack becomes a small break time for everyone. It’s a couple of minutes to chat, nibble, and take a moment before trying to close out the day. For many of us, we get most of our work done towards the end of the day when all our meetings and interruptions are done. So snack isn’t just physical nourishment; it’s a small morale boost right at the end of your day when you really need to hammer out your work.
TL;DR: Eat a scheduled snack in the late afternoon and have a longer and more productive work day.