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The office of the future is laden with snacks

People are spending more time at work these days than at any time since the postwar era. It turns out they’re snacking a whole lot more, too.

In the 1890s factory workers were averaging 100 hours a week, which led to the labor movement and the 40-hour workweek. The 40-hour workweek and nine to five lifestyle was a staple in American life for decades, but that 40 hours started to creep up, and a 2014 Gallup poll had that average at 47 hours per week. Maintaining a balance between work and life is becoming more difficult, but it’s also cutting into your well-being. When you have to clock out to go get lunch, coffee, and snacks, that extends the time you are spending in the office, further cutting into your work/life balance. That’s why more offices than ever are offering free snacks, drinks, premium coffee, and more, an attempt to restore some of the work/life balance employees may have lost.

Related: Freedom Bars Vegan Bars Are Going To Be Your Go-To Snack This Summer

Taking breaks is often seen as a bad thing when it should, in fact, be seen as the opposite. An astounding 34% of bosses consider employees’ breaks when evaluating their work performance, and 20% of employees worry those breaks will cast them as less valuable employees in the eyes of management. What’s more, 38% of employees don’t feel encouraged to take a lunch break. The reality is that 81% of people who take lunch breaks want to be a valuable member of their organizations, and 90% of people who take lunch breaks feel refreshed and ready to work afterward.

When employees don’t feel encouraged to take breaks and attend to their own needs, they can end up trying to push through hungry, which affects performance in the long run. Hunger causes mistakes, but it also stifles creativity. By providing free snacks, drinks, and premium coffee, you can keep employees happier and more productive while also offering a perk for being part of your organization.

Healthy snacks sustain that productivity and creativity longer than some junk out of a vending machine, and that’s why making good choices for what to stock the break room with can make a difference in the productivity and job satisfaction of all your team members.

These perks can also help you keep your employees on board in this strong jobs market. Currently there are more job openings than there are people to fill them, which means that employees are leaving bad situations in search of better ones. If you are struggling to offer the pay and benefits increases that this jobs market demands, offering free healthy snacks can bridge that gap in the interim.

Related: These five home-based jobs will convince office workers to quit their jobs

Taking care of employees isn’t just a nice job perk for them, it’s essential to your company’s success. Workers who feel cared for are more likely to stick around, and they are going to perform better as well, day after day and year after year. Plus, it’s just common courtesy to take care of the people running your business for you. Learn more about the value of free snacks and drinks in the workplace as well as how the office has changed over time below!