By Sandra Abballe
Many companies have been putting a strong focus on the well-being of their employees. They understand that creating a fun environment in the workplace can lead to employees who are happier and more satisfied in their role. It can also lead to greater workplace morale and decrease in staff turnover and absenteeism. However can happier employees lead to a better bottom line?
Research presented by the University of Warwick in Britain in April 2014 confirms that employees who are happier are indeed 12 per cent more productive. Yet, one question still remains: what makes people happy? This 2014 study offered test subjects snacks and the opportunity to watch comedy clips prior to working. It was also analyzed that eventually the effects of these methods would wear off. Another factor for happiness that is quick to come to mind is money, yet there are plenty of people who are very well paid but still unhappy at work.
Happiness in the workforce must be developed at a deeper emotional level, created by a playful work environment and by experiences that bring people together to feel they are one team. James Beard, chef and cookbook author, once wrote: “Food is our common ground, a universal experience.” Food sustains life, yet it is so much more than something we need to nourish our bodies. Food brings people together; through shared experiences, barriers are broken, memories develop and relationships thrive.
For the past 4,000 years, one such food that has been connecting people around the world is chocolate. People across all cultures have turned to this mysterious food for ritual, medicine and sheer pleasure.
What better food to bring people together than chocolate? Known today in many nutritional circles as a so-called “superfood,” chocolate is rich in antioxidants, flavanols, and minerals such as magnesium. But did you know that chocolate actually makes people happy?
A study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found people who had a 42g dark chocolate drink a day felt more content than people who did not. Junee Sangani, a dietitian and spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association, explains why: “The improvement in mood that people can get from eating chocolate comes from the release of serotonin and endorphins – the feel-good chemicals – in the brain.” For those working in the corporate setting, we all know we could use a little of that!
Imagine the following scenario:
It’s lunch hour. . . both you and your team have already been hard at work since 7 a.m. and are quickly starting to feel your energy fade. In walks a woman, an award-winning chocolatier, carrying with her a strange machine filled with five kilograms of liquid chocolate! She quickly takes over your boardroom with her portable kitchen. The smell of the chocolate is intoxicating and soon your team gathers for a much-needed break. Your boardroom has now been transformed into a small chocolate factory. Plates filled with beautiful artisan chocolate bonbons are waiting for you to determine your favourite flavour. Raw cocoa beans and cocoa pods span the tables with chocolates from around the world. A truffle-making station at the back of the room is ready for you to make your own box of chocolates. She begins your journey through this mysterious food with a short demonstration. Laughter and excitement shines though the chatter as your team begins to make their own chocolates. Working together in teams of two, your team is starting to communicate. Your team is happy to be away from their desks for this short 90 minute workshop but more importantly, they are connecting with each other while indulging this exciting culinary experience.
Success at work doesn’t always depend on the amount of time your team works; it depends upon the quality of your team’s work. And the quality of your team’s work is highly dependent on your team’s well-being. Taking time replenish with a playful chocolate experience will help your team members re-connect on a personal level, trigger creativity while reducing stress and lead to overall happier employees.
About the author
Succulent Chocolates’ mission is to create the ultimate chocolate experience using their award-winning, hand painted chocolates and confections. Chef Sandra Abballe, Owner and Lead Chocolatier, is an expert in combining high quality coverture chocolate with natural and bold flavours ensuring that one small bite will have a big impact. Succulent Chocolates works specifically with the corporate market to create chocolate teambuilding, death by chocolate events and chocolate pairing session. In the past three years they have created experiences for some of the largest brands in Canada including: Johnson & Johnson, GE Healthcare and Desjardin Financial. Visit www.succulentchocolates.com for more information or contact Chef Sandra directly at 416.882.1535 or [email protected].