In practice, I have found that food alleviates some of the stress that is usually associated with an office environment. It has a tendency to relax people (good or bad?). I was always keenly aware when the snack table in our team was getting low because the stress level tended to rise when there were only a few crumbs of this and that left, or when there were only the GuaranteedNeverEmptyFoodTableSnacks?
left. The latter stirs another thought in my mind... having snacks that most folks don't really like, is almost as bad (if not worse) than having no snacks at all. - JasonRogers
My take is that food is too often a sign that stress levels are too high. When I find myself snacking I now try to stand back and see who has been increasing my stress levels, then see the monkey on their back, (i.e. why they are stressed). This is more effective in clearing the stress than snacking, I find.
One company provided 'free' take away food for anyone who was still in the office at 9pm. The social pressure to work late in that company was very destructive. See also FortyHourWeek
Perhaps one reason why so many hackers are overweight?
(besides sittin on 'yer ass all day?)
I used to go through a bag of WasabiPea?s a week...
Providing "free" take-out at work is not necessarily a terrible idea; at one workplace, the employer would pay for dinner if you worked through dinner-time (say, past 7:00 p.m.). The spirit of this policy was that this was provided as a gesture of appreciation for the extra work done
. If, instead, this was used as an indicator of who was "really working," it would have been one of the ProcessSmells
So that's why the food presence at the college labs seems to increase as you reach the end of semester projects!