Food at Work: A Call for Ideas and Innovation

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As the nature of work changes, organizations demand more from their real estate while technology fundamentally alters how we collaborate. With this comes an evolution in the expectations of workplace environments — of which food is a key component.

Organizations place increasing importance on food and drink provision to achieve business objectives. Beyond sustenance, food is a means of improving staff well-being, of promoting greater socialization and collaboration at work, and increasing productivity through nutrition.

Food and drink can play a fundamental role in uniting dispersed organizations, while also helping to cross cultural and geographical barriers to communication and collaboration. Increasingly, the right catering solution is pivotal.

Unwork and Zurich Insurance are conducting a 6-month study on the future of food and drink in the workplace. We are creating a new, global perspective that investigates a broad agenda within the modern workplace:

  • The link between food and wellbeing
  • The impact of interior design on performance and health
  • Provision and economics of food and drink

There are 50 corporate organizations involved in the research study. They give their thoughts and ideas of the future workplace — particularly the plans for food and food space.

As part of the project, we are running a design and innovation competition to generate creative ideas around how we offer food and drink in tomorrow’s workplace. There is a demand to move the office food experience away from dullness and to promote better ways of working.

We want to understand what the food spaces of the future could look like.

To do this, we invite submissions for the competition to bring together ideas, concepts, and innovations on food at work. We want to look at how food can further support working practices in the future.

The final Food at Work Project of 2013 will feature the best entries. The judging panel — which includes leading corporates, restaurant designers, and architects — will choose the winning entries.

For more details about the competition, or to get a copy of the full design brief, please emails Kit Lewin at Unwork.

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  1. Over recent decades mid-day meals in the workplace have been dominated by the values of productivity and efficiency whereas my hope is that employers will encourage people to get away from their desks or machines and make time for proper relaxation and recreation. In this way they can return refreshed and exercise more creativity in their jobs. I expect most people will appreciate eating in an environment that contrasts with their workspace but options might vary from small areas with subdued lighting for solo eating through to large communal areas.


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