Transform your workplace, through the language of food & cultural connection
How the language of food & cultural connection can transform your workplace?
Team building, an art or a science?
High-performing teams share these three primary characteristics; energy, creativity, and shared commitment.
Researchers at MIT's Human Dynamics Laboratory designed research among different teams and sectors, where they equipped all the members of those teams with electronic badges. These badges collected data on their communication behaviour—tone of voice, body language, whom they talked to and how much, and more.
Then they analysed the data collected and found that the best predictors of productivity were a team's energy and engagement outside formal meetings. More importantly, teams can be taught how to strengthen them.
Team bonding events can play a significant role in increasing well-being, connection and engagement in the workplace.
How can team bonding events positively impact the work environment?
- Improved relationships: Bonding events can help team members get to know each other better and form closer relationships, leading to improved communication, trust, and collaboration.
- Reduced stress: Participating in fun, engaging activities can help relieve stress and promote a positive outlook, increasing job satisfaction and reducing burnout.
- Increased motivation: When team members feel valued and supported, they are more likely to be motivated and engaged in their work, leading to higher job satisfaction and productivity.
- Enhanced creativity: Bonding events allow team members to step outside their routine and engage in creative thinking, leading to new ideas and innovative solutions.
- Strengthened team cohesion: By participating in shared experiences, team members can develop a stronger sense of unity and shared purpose, improving morale and reducing workplace conflicts.
Communicating through food and building connections
Food is often called the universal language that connects people from different cultures and backgrounds. Conversations about food can create a bond between people in several ways:
- Shared experiences: Talking about food can lead to collective memories and childhood share experiences. This shared experience can create a sense of closeness between people.
- Cultural connections: Food is often tied to cultural traditions and customs. Discussing food can help people learn more about each other's backgrounds and cultural practices, leading to a greater understanding and appreciation of different cultures.
- Common interests: People who share a love for food often have other common interests as well. Discussing food can lead to conversations about other shared interests, such as travel, cooking, or dining out.
- Comfort and hospitality: Food is often associated with comfort and hospitality. When people share food or talk about food, it can create a warm and welcoming atmosphere that promotes connection and bonding.
Creating cultural connection
As you may hear this before, I combined a few of my passions into a business, from being a human rights lawyer and an NGO worker to a curator of bread-making events.
Setting up my business around bread-making helped me to bring mindful like-minded people together, connect with my cultural roots, explore other food cultures and flavours, and, more importantly, encourage people to engage with their food by making it.
I want to create memorable experiences for people and bring them together to communicate through the language of food. I wanted this to be around bread for different reasons because bread is the core of most food cultures and my own complex relationship with carbs and bread. Later during the recipe and story collection, I rediscovered my cultural roots.
This journey reconnected me to all my aromatic childhood memories of my childhood. All the bakery shops in downtown Tehran their odd working hours. My faded memories from childhood started to become live and vivid. One of my favourites is my grandma's flatbread (lavash) buying rituals during summertime. She used to buy 20 at least, leave them dry and crunchy, and then wrap them in a sizeable fine cotton cloth. Every morning after getting up, she takes one of two breads, drizzles a few drops of water, wraps them in a white kitchen towel, and leaves them for a few minutes to be ready to be served with sweet yellow grapes and salty cheese. As a child, I had never been a big fan; they were too sweet for me. Now that I am thinking about even writing about it makes me hungry.
Soon after my first round of bread-making workshops, I realised all these mini-stories from childhood, the flavour from our travels, and our culinary experiences bring people together and open the space for so many other (sometimes) difficult conversations.
Making my Team-Bonding events accessible for small conscious businesses
I've been a consultant with the not-for-profit sector and small human rights organisations and have run my own small NGO for over eight years. I can barely remember being in team bonding events all those years.
Organising team-bonding events, including volunteers and external consultants, often is outside the priorities for NGOs, small independent businesses, and enterprises, mainly due to a lack of resources and time. I am fully aware of the whole picture and on a mission to make these experiences more accessible.
Transform your workplace into an inspiring hub of creativity and communication by tapping into the essence of different cultures through their cuisines!