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How to create the perfect lunch and learn

When implementing a lunch and learn session into your workplace, it's important to find the right balance between a highly engaging topic and appealing food. To ensure a large amount of staff attends the event, you'll want to ask what they'd like to experience during a lunch and learn. To help you get started, we spoke to an independent Organisation Development consultant, executive coach, and university lecturer, Nick Outlaw. He echoes the sentiment that a lunch and learn should not be a top down directive. Each event should be run as an employee-lead initiative. 

As you sort through various considerations for planning a lunch and learn, it's important to create an atmosphere that's both informative and relaxing for attendees. You don't want a lunch and learn to feel like another business meeting. Since providing a diverse selection of fresh, delicious food for your staff is a key element, you'll need a catering partner like OfficeServe.

With over 50 items on our menu, we have something for nearly everyone - including special dietary needs. Click below to browse our offerings before reading on about how to set up a lunch and learn.

Plan a lunch and learn session with Nick Outlaw

Described in the introduction, Nick Outlaw works in the field of workplace learning. His clients span from finance, media, and retail to legal and education. He's also spent the last 10 years supporting huminatarian response teams at major INGO's

Nick loves helping people discover new ways to interact with the world. As a result of his extensive professional experience, Nick confirms that the most valuable way for people to learn is through sharing experience and knowledge with others.

We asked Nick to provide his advice on how to start a lunch and learn.

What would be your top 3 tips to give someone looking to start a series of lunch and learn session in their organisation? 

  1. 1. Before you start, find out what it is that people want to learn about – what would they value? This might be different than what you think they should learn. 
  2. 2. Don’t overcomplicate things, try to achieve too much or cover too much ground. Keep it simple, focussed and short. Do make it interesting – for that, be curious. 
  3. 3. Be clear and open about your intention and ensure that this is reflected in how you structure the session. Is this about imparting information, training specific skills, sharing knowledge or exploring ideas? 

What do you think are the biggest benefits an organisation can get from running a lunch and learn and can they have a lasting impact? 

At a practical level, people can develop new skills, knowledge or insights that might contribute to improved performance. Preparing for and leading learning sessions like this can also be a great developmental experience for people. But with the right energy, behaviours, and support, these types of initiatives can become a valuable part of the rhythm and culture of a team or organisation.

How (aside from a free lunch) can you encourage people to engage with the creation, running and attendance of these events?

See 1) above. The key thing is to tap into what people actually value and, ideally, simply give them any support and encouragement they might need in making the event happen themselves. Top down directives in this space will be really hard to pull off and go against the basic intention associated with a lunch and learn. Designing and facilitating effective learning sessions does not need to be complicated – there is a huge body of knowledge out there about how to create a successful event. A little bit of structure and prep can make a big difference – please, no 30-minute PowerPoint presentations. In fact, ban PowerPoint altogether. 

Developing a series

Hopefully your lunch and learn session turns out to be a success! To keep the momentum going, it’s recommended to develop a series. Build the energy by sharing highlights from each event internally. Showing the team building a lunch and learn creates will encourage more staff members to participate in the future. 

Of course, we’d hope the food is a big part of each event’s success and resulting conversations. When planning any office event, including a lunch and learn, there’s no better catering service in the UK than 
OfficeServe. Contact us today to place your order. 

OfficeServe’s catering options

As mentioned in the introduction, let OfficeServe handle the catering with our beautifully arranged platters. Browse top-rated restaurant-quality dishes like our expanded salad sharers, sandwiches, tray bakes, vegan offerings, and Indian and Mediterranean sharers. With so much selection, there’s enough to appeal to your entire staff. 

Also, since many of these items go on sale, you’ll want to subscribe to our newsletter to discover 
OfficeServe’s plate of the month. We’re also actively seeking ways of improving our offerings, and respond to feedback.

Make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for notifications on 
OfficeServe’s latest dishes. 

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If seeking fresh, healthy options make sure to check out OfficeServe’s selection of sandwich platters, salads, and vegetarian, vegan, and snack sharers for lunch ideas. When arranging food for your next office meeting, event, or other staff function
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 | 7th May 2019
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It's common to have excess food after a meeting, conference, event, lunch and learn, or other office activity. Since food waste is a growing concern in the UK, we're here to help reduce what may end up in the bin.
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 | 24th May 2019