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Both the company and the employees stand to gain from these types of programs, typically held once a month in an area where people can sit together and eat comfortably while someone gives a presentation. Those who attend will take away something of worth—knowledge they can use at home or at work. But they will also enjoy themselves; Lunch and Learn programs give people a chance to mingle, and they create a general overall feeling of camaraderie among coworkers. They offer people who rarely emerge from their cubicles the opportunity to get out and see one another.
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Great Lunch and Learn Ideas
How to Handle Stress. Everyone has stress, even if it’s good stress. Recovering from the death of a loved one is stressful, and so is planning a wedding or getting ready for the holidays. Your presenter can teach people that stress comes in all forms and show them how to use stress management techniques to relax.
Self Defense. This won’t cost you much if someone on your staff is already trained in one of the martial arts. Don’t expect him to teach people how to give the old one-two to street gangsters! What he will demonstrate is how to escape a hold and what items in your pockets can be used as weapons. He will also show people how to walk and present themselves as confident individuals in order to deter would-be attackers.
Managing Your Retirement Funds. Many people, both young and old, don’t understand common financial terms. Your speaker can teach the definitions of mutual funds, stocks and bonds, certificates of deposit, trust funds, and more. She can explain when it’s good to divide retirement funds up into riskier funds and when to go for safe bets.
Setting up Educational Savings Accounts for Your Children. Most states allow for some kind of tax-deferred savings plan for education costs. Your presenter will show people that their savings will grow, even if they save just a little at a time. There are other options out there as well, such as encouraging grandparents or relatives to contribute to the savings funds as part of birthday or holiday gifts, or recruiting the entire family network to participate in plans like Upromise.
Exercising at Your Desk. Many workers get drowsy around mid-afternoon, and you’ve got to get them perked up! Your employees will shake away the mid-day blues if they simply get up from their desks for a few minutes each hour to bend down and touch their toes. Your presenter will demonstrate how to do pushups from the edge of the desk or the wall; stay seated and do quad stretches by flexing the legs and ankles; stand up and perform shoulder rolls.
Nutrition. No list of Lunch and Learn ideas is complete without something on nutrition. In fact, you can get several Lunch and Learns out of this topic. For starters, have your speaker talk about popular foods in a low glycemic diet and teach your workers why they should choose complex over simple carbs. Another great topic is explaining the Mediterranean diet, or simply doing a presentation on the role of proteins, carbs, and fats—and just how much a person needs of each in his daily diet.
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Talking to Your Child About… Your employees have children of varying ages, so you will want to vary your topics. Many people—parents or not—are interested in learning about bullying. People also want tips for discussing sensitive subjects such as drugs and sex with their children. How about sitting down with their kids to talk about self-esteem or integrity? This is one of those Lunch and Learn ideas that can develop into a series entirely on its own.
Revitalize Your Marriage (or Significant Relationship). This is not a forum for discussing marital problems, but you will attract a good-sized audience by promising to refocus people on the so-called “Rules of Fair Fighting." Like the Lunch and Learn devoted to stress, you will want a speaker with a sense of humor to discuss things like “Inlaws Who Become Outlaws" and similar topics.
Using Exercise Bands. Even if you don’t have room at your company for a proper exercise room, you can still set up an area with exercise bands. Buy some and sell them at a lowered cost to your employees; your Lunch and Learn presenter can demonstrate their use. You can also have bands available in the break room, or people can even sign them out and take them to their desks. Using bands encourages people to do simple stretching, and some exercises can be done in office chairs.
De-escalating Angry Customers. Whether you operate a retail store or a mail order business, a health care facility or a spa, you are going to have disgruntled customers. Your presenter will teach your employees ways to help customers calm down using appropriate body language and voice cues. Nobody likes dealing with unpleasantness! These techniques can also be used for dealing with one’s family, as well.
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Does the Company Benefit?
You bet! Once your Lunch and Learn program has been under way for a few months, you will notice productivity growing from the improvement in morale. When people are happier at work, they develop increased loyalty. Absenteeism will decrease as people put their new knowledge to work and choose healthier lifestyles. Your health insurance and worker’s compensation insurance costs will go down.
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