As an incentive for workers, many companies have an interesting offering in meals and snacks. This isn’t only an amenity but a significant productivity-booster strategy: workers who are well fed and have all the needed nutrients are happier and perform better. For example, we can now see many organizations, even small companies with more limited budgets, offering fruits to employees as mid-day snacks.
Without question, this is a fantastic idea. There is also a more traditional option, which is more often found at bigger companies: a cafeteria where every worker can have his or her lunch, bringing their meals from home or purchasing it in-house.
So far, we see no issues here. However, the challenges arise when it comes to vegan employees. Someone who is vegan often finds challenges to stick to their plant-based diet outside the house. At home, we have the absolute and unconditioned power to decide what and how to eat. This is not the case for work environments where the cafeteria has a somehow-fixed menu.
How can a vegan find satisfaction in the workplace? What are the options available to vegans today? What is the current state of affairs when it comes to companies and vegan options at the cafeteria? Let’s find out.
The Current State of Affairs
The vegan lifestyle is changing the world at an astonishing pace and we should be happy about it. The changes are coming first to big, well-known companies around the world. Three great examples of this are Google, WeWork, and Facebook.
The search engine giant has been working hard to create a vegan-friendly environment at work, which includes a wide offering in plant-based food at cafeterias and events. Alongside with other big efforts that the company is making to help our planet (just read about their comprehensive renewable energy implementation), they are constantly working on an infrastructure of sustainable nutrition for its employees.
It’s also worth noting that Google is partnering with organizations as Better Buying Lab and the World Resources Institute to push forward changes in the way restaurants work in the US. According to recent research, only 1 in 20 popular menu options in the US is fully vegan. We’ll talk about this in another occasion.
WeWork, the co-working fast-growing giant, has recently banned meat in all of its venues worldwide. The HQ sent a memo informing all locations to stop offering meat-based dishes and commenting that from now on the company will not pay for meat during events and gatherings (such expenses would run on the client side). This could be seen as a radical move for some but it’s clearly a signal of taking things very seriously.
Finally, we have Facebook. We all know that this company has been under heavy pressure during the last few months, everything as the result of user privacy violations and the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Nonetheless, we cannot deny its efforts to support the vegan lifestyle in-house.
Since 2016, Facebook has been running a vegan-focused group to teach the perks of the lifestyle among employees, supporting healthy eating habits and plant-based cooking. According to Phaedra Anestassia, the software engineer who founded the group, Facebook is investing resources to create a sustainability-aware environment at the workplace, something that includes a rich vegan offering at the cafeteria.
Where Are the Medium and Small Companies?
Because of their size and notoriety, medium and small companies that offer vegan options to employees are harder to spot. There isn’t enough information available and vegan prospects are simply forced to ask directly to someone working there in order to know better.
However, it’s well-known that medium and small companies are making the shift too. It occurs that a big share of newly-born companies is founded by young entrepreneurs who very often are vegans. Those startups stable enough to offer meals and snacks to their teams have the vegan factor in mind.
It’s important to remember all readers that some medium and small companies have no interest in making the switch. But why? It’s quite simple: their workforce isn’t vegan, not even in small proportions. If there are not enough vegans on the team, why changing the menu? This is a situation that newcomers should understand with an open mind.
The Challenge Vegans Are Facing and Some Solutions to Try
Today, the business world continues to be predominantly omnivorous. The protagonists of the change are big companies with deep pockets and some medium and small organizations willing to go the extra mile.
So, what can vegans do? There are multiple options. First, as a vegan in the workplace, understand how many vegans are thriving for a change and speak up. Make rational and educated demands in a collective fashion. Team up with your vegan co-workers and transmit the right message to the high ranks.
If a considerable change isn’t on the horizon yet, take the problem in your own hands. There are millions of vegans that are taking their vegan meals and snacks to work in this very moment. Yes, this can be too much for tight schedules but it continues to be a solution. Know your snacks and prepare meals ahead. Bring nuts and cereals to the office and be always prepared for long and demanding workdays.The mindset at companies of all sizes is finally making a shift in terms of consciousness and veganism. Big companies are giving the example and smaller ones are realizing that their workforce’s wellbeing unavoidable translates into performance and profits. So don’t be afraid of speak up and make clear what’s on your mind.