Before workplaces went remote, you might have relied on bagel breakfasts or free lunches as an essential job perk that kept you fueled and ready to work long hours. Now that many of us work from home, it’s tricky to get the same motivation out of raiding our own fridges for some leftovers. Enter: Freshly for Business, a new venture by Freshly meal delivery, which has adapted delivery offerings to include a range of home office eats that are scaled for pleasing dot com-sized distributed workforces.
The Changing Face of Work Perks
Startups, tech companies, and other competitive workplaces have long woo’ed new hires with special on-site services, from free laundry and foosball to 24/7 cereal dispensers and free cafeterias. When workforces from tech HQs like Google and Amazon sent their teams home for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic, maybe for more than a year, those old perks were gone in a flash.
What HR departments now have to focus on, instead of catered pasta buffets and live concerts, are mental health support programs and distributed ergonomic office chairs. Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Salesforce all recently added extra time off for parents to take care of homeschooled kids. (That’s a long way from free beer and ping pong tables.)
Indeed, the Wild West of one-upping lavish job perks may never be the same. While Reddit and job boards are full of stories from years past of elaborate perks at tech giants like Google (at one point, Reuters reported on the trend of employees secretly living “on campus” at Google to save on rent — a feat they could achieve by using the many lifestyle perks available), the switch of perks to the home-based individual worker is a growing logistical nightmare for many employers.
So as perks are shifting, how are companies to compete for employee retention or attraction? The path to happy workers, Freshly thinks, might just be found through the stomach.
A Mighty Menu of Meals for Your Microwave
Freshly is betting that employees still don’t mind a free meal or two (or more) per week. They offer a menu of 30+ rotating meals every week, with the option to ship them in orders of 4, 6, 10 or 12 meals per week. The employee selects what they’d like to eat from the weekly online menu, and the meals are prepared and shipped out to their address. Meals are refrigerated, and have about a 4- to 5-day shelf life. They heat up in a microwave in about 2-3 minutes, meaning even the most culinarily-challenged of us can handle this meal.
The Freshly for Business plans are relatively affordable, with meals starting at $8.49 each and topping out at $11.49 per meal (plus shipping). Each dish has ingredients and nutritional values noted, and you can select meals based on your tastes. All meals are peanut and gluten-free and typically consist of a main meat protein, fresh vegetables, and more.
But… There Are Also Some Diversity Drawbacks
If you’re a meat eater, it’s a tasty fit, but there’s not a block of tofu or tempeh in sight. Freshly doesn’t currently offer any vegetarian or vegan entrees, but they note that they’re always refreshing their menu, so their offerings could change in the future. Therefore, it might not be a fit if you have a workforce with a diverse set of culinary needs. There are also no meals that are specifically designed for special diets like Paleo, Whole30, or programs like WW, or for those who require Kosher or halal food. You can at least quickly see and select meals that are dairy-free, low carb, high protein, or lower calorie, among other categories, and make some educated choices.
So while workforces are quickly adapting to the “new normal” of a home office (and possibly less foosball), Freshly meal delivery is also adapting to what’s going to keep them happy. Hopefully, with a growing, diverse menu, that also reflects the diversity of hungry workers.