A lunch and learn is when employers schedule a joint lunch for their employees to encourage learning and foster strong relationships. It offers opportunities for coworkers to share ideas and discuss issues in a relaxed atmosphere. Because people learn better in calm conditions, organizing regular lunch and learn events will speed up your employees’ professional development.
What is lunch and learn?
Lunch and Learn is an educational program company can offer to employees to help teach skills or provide useful information relevant to their job. During a lunch and learn event, the company brings in an expert to give a presentation while employees enjoy a lunch that their company provides. This is a fun alternative to business meetings and can be an effective use of time.
These events benefit both employees and the company and can boost productivity by fostering healthy relationships and promoting the well-being of employees. Great lunch and learns are engaging, outcome-oriented, and give your team real value in exchange for your time.
Breaking the Ice
Want to help your colleagues get to know each other better? Then elect to do a lunch and learn that’s all about breaking the ice and learning more about one another.
Wine, Beer, or Spirits Tasting
This might be more of a happy hour idea than a lunch and learn topic but consider hosting a late afternoon “lunch and learn” where a professional connoisseur comes in and does a wine, beer, or spirits tasting with you. Just remember to ensure everyone’s legal drinking age and, of course, to drink responsibly.
Whether your lunch and learn topic is solely focused on building bonds and having fun or it’s something you want to include to wrap up a skills-focused lunch and learn, team building activities are a great way to do it. They can act as a standalone lunch and learn, or simply complement an existing lunch and learn by adding a fun touch.
Social media management
A communications expert can come in to guide employees through social media management and how to use social media platforms to receive the greatest benefit. Teaching the best practices for social media can improve an employee's personal life, but social media is also a useful tool for marketing and sales. For example, presenting information on how to use hashtags can help employees increase the visibility of the company and its products.
Using productivity applications
Using productivity applications such as time-tracking and project management software can help employees achieve company goals and their personal goals. Learning how to use these applications can also improve workflow.
Time management techniques
Everyone can benefit from learning time management techniques. Learning how to use time more wisely and become more productive can help in employees' professional and personal lives. A presentation about time management may cover task managers which can help prioritize tasks, provide tips on how to keep focus, or teach employees how to create schedules for their day.
Easy weeknight dinners
Planning a dinner after a long working day can be very difficult sometimes. Host a pro chef to share with the employees some easy-to-make and healthy dinners.
Thinking outside the box
As the world evolves, many organizations are introducing ground-breaking methods to achieve their objectives. If you want your company to adopt new trends, you must train your employees to think outside the box. You can organize a session where you urge your employees to share novel ideas that can improve efficiency and productivity.
How to be an unbiased leader
You can also organize a lunch and learn session to educate your management team on how to be fair and make unbiased decisions in the workplace.
Get to know each team
Ensure that every one of your employees is present at this lunch and learn session. Let the head of each team and department give a quick overview of what goes on in their department and how their role is essential to the company’s success.
Bring in a personal trainer, ergonomic expert, or one of your most fitness-minded staff members to teach a crash course on how to stay active while sitting at a desk for eight hours a day. Whether it’s gadgets like standing desks or simply finding time to stretch or walk around the block, just about everyone can learn something new about being more active during the day.
Get an organization expert to talk about simple ways to keep your home and closets tidy. Include cleaning hacks and budget-friendly ways to live clutter-free.
Boosting your energy throughout the workday
A nutritionist could host an informative lunch about how healthy eating habits can help maintain energy levels throughout the day. Many workers report they lack motivation in the afternoon, but high protein or fiber snacks can give you a boost to finish the workday. This is a topic that can promote the well-being of employees while also benefiting the company with higher levels of productivity.
Making good first impressions is useful for networking, and forming relationships with your coworkers and can advance career opportunities, which is why how to make a first impression would be a good topic for a lunch and learn event. These social skills can help employees in and out of work.
Offering tips on how to be a better communicator is a great topic for lunch and learn events in the workplace because communication is an important skill for every profession and is a helpful social skill out of work as well. An expert could give advice on how to improve and practice oral and written speaking skills. Employees can benefit from a presentation like this and use the skills to be more effective team members.
If you have a community relations team, you can request them to compile a list of volunteer opportunities for your employees. The community relations team will share the list of volunteer opportunities at your lunch and learn. Alternatively, you can invite volunteer organizations to share their initiatives and encourage your workers to participate in their programs. Volunteering can teach your employees to give back to society and help them build new skills.
Procrastination can cause a significant setback to the company’s growth and development. Organize a series of lunch and learn events with tips to help employees overcome procrastination and work productively.
Just like eating well, fitness has also been shown to raise energy levels, combat stress, battle fatigue, and make you more efficient and productive. That makes it a perfect lunch and learn topic for your team. Whether it’s a how-to tutorial or an instructor-led physical workout, helping people understand fitness fundamentals will have positive outcomes in their personal and professional lives. If you opt to do an actual workout, just make sure it’s something everyone will feel comfortable participating in, regardless of their fitness level.
Virtual Lunch & Learn Topics
Online Book Club
Book Clubs are ideal for virtual lunch and learn activities. The talk-based exercise is educational and translates easily to Zoom. To hold a virtual book club session, first, choose and announce a book a month or so in advance. You can boost participation by sending guests a physical or digital copy of the chosen title or by reimbursing the purchase.
Next, research or write discussion questions. Finally, meet up on Zoom and discuss the book together. Participants can read books intended for pleasure or career development. Check out these books on professional topics for reading recommendations.
Aside from speakers, you can also showcase your employees. Your colleagues have knowledge about a variety of work and non-work subjects. Peer-to-peer lessons give teammates a platform to share that expertise.
This activity is a win-win. Teammates find out more about remote coworkers’ multifaceted personalities and skill sets while learning about a relevant topic. These sessions also fine-tune the presenters’ public speaking abilities and instill confidence.
Ask Me Anything
You can publicly host the session on a social media site like Twitter or Instagram, or hold a company-only event using mediums such as Slack channels, Google Meet Q&A, or internal forums. This approach is more collaborative than a standard submit-your-questions setup, as participants can get inspired by and piggyback off of each others’ questions. Also, since queries are out in the open at one time, askers are not at the mercy of the facilitator calling on raised hands. Experts can even prioritize the most popular questions based on how many other participants like or react to a posted inquiry.
Storytelling Workshops are ideal for professional development for longer remote lunch and learns. During this two-hour event, a facilitator guides groups through a writing masterclass, sharing tips on how to make stories engaging and impactful. Participants learn composition hacks and presentation hints, gaining a deeper understanding of coworkers in the process. At the end of the event, participants compose and share original stories, and teammates provide praise and constructive criticism. Storytelling Workshops’ narrative lessons have practical applications in the workplace. The skills gained through this event can empower marketers, salespeople, HR professionals, and managers to be more persuasive, confident, and empathetic.
Nerd Talks are TED-style presentations on Zoom. These lectures include interactive elements like icebreakers and remote Bingo to keep audience members engaged and participating. A subject expert leads the one-hour event, answering questions and keeping the energy high. The talks are available on fun and irreverent topics like Zombies and Philosophy, Beer and Sharks, and Cereal and Serial Killers. Hosts link subjects in unexpected ways, share extraordinary facts, reveal lesser-known history, and shift perspectives.