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In January 2020 UK Vegan Charity, The Vegan Society, published measures that corporations could take to make vegan friendly workplaces.
What they weren’t perhaps expecting was a global pandemic that would close offices around the world, and then in January of 2021, Veganuary reaching its highest number of participants since the event began.
However as lockdown restrictions begin to ease in the United Kingdom, and global workforces begin to outline their plans to bring staff back to their offices, there’s now more emphasis than ever on corporations to take veganism’s growth into account and provide an inclusive vegan workplace.
Many vegan employees have long felt alienated at a workplace lunch event, or a colleagues birthday event, where there are no vegan options available. With such an evident growth in veganism, it’s now up to employers to consider this change amongst the plethora of others they will make as the workplace establishes its new normal.
Below we’ve listed some of the ways in which businesses can create a vegan friendly workplace that has everyone feeling included.
5 Tips to Create a Vegan Friendly Workplace
1) Diversify the office snack selection
If your workplace provides healthy snacks for its employees then ensure to double check the snack selection for vegan friendly options. Traditionally vegan snacks have extended mostly to fruit and nut selections, and whilst those are great, nowadays there are a whole variety of vegan options. Examples include pop-crisps, healthy dark chocolate coated snacks and bars like flapjacks and granola bars. For hot drinks, consider supplying a non-dairy milk or creamer.
2) Look for non-vegan catering options
Throwing a corporate lunch is a great team building exercise, but often it’s quicker and easier for companies to hire a caterer. However quite commonly caterers will provide vegetarian options, and overlook vegan options unless they are specifically told otherwise.
When considering hiring a caterer double check to see if the caterer provides vegan and vegetarian options, or alternatively look for customisable catering options. Customisable options allow you to set up a platter so that employees are able to serve themselves.
That way, non-vegan foods such as cheeses can be left to one side, and vegan employees aren’t nervously picking through sandwiches hoping that there’s a suitable choice.
With more being done for dairy and gluten allergies, setting up customisable catering options also keeps free-from employees safe, too. To find out what free-from foods are, read our blog on the subject here.
3) Keep the communal kitchen vegan friendly
Communal kitchens are commonplace in most corporate offices, but they can also fill vegan employees with dread and some may avoid using them for fear of contaminated equipment.
To prevent this, and to ensure the kitchen is just as inclusive as everywhere else, there are steps that workplaces can take.
- Providing colour-coded equipment that specifies whether a utensil should be used in the preparation of vegan, or non-vegan food.
- Encouraging employees to keep any utensils they use clean can also help to prevent a vegan coming into contact with dairy or meat substances.
- If a workplace has the kitchen space separate food preparation areas could be enacted so that a free-from or vegan employee is doubly reassured that they will not come into contact with non-vegan food substances whilst trying to prepare their lunch.
- Providing separate food storage areas for vegan and non-vegan employees, such as dedicated shelves in the fridge.
4) Being mindful of employees personal preferences
To create a truly inclusive workplace, employees personal preferences should be respected in all aspects of their day to day work.
For vegan employees, that mindfulness could appear through:
- Providing alternative corporate events. For example if the company is hosting a “Hog Roast” event, a company could then host a “Raw Vegan Chocolate Workshop”.
- Providing access to vegan friendly work clothing, such as safety boots made of synthetics as opposed to animal leather, or non-leather phone cases.
- If a vegan member of staff is involved in a decision making process regarding non-vegan products, consider giving them the choice as to whether or not to participate in the process.
- Nurturing a positive and respectful atmosphere regarding veganism, vegetarianism, and free-from employees. For example by being mindful of “jokes” which others may find offensive.
5) Plan a Plant-Based Challenge
Finally, one great way to get all your employees working inclusively is to create a team challenge based around plant-based or free-from foods.
Remarkably statistics have shown that when employees follow a semi, or even full plant-based diet, they take less sick days, have lower blood pressure levels and generally show higher levels of productivity.
One way to kickstart this initiative is to host a month-long plant based challenge. Requirements could involve switching snacks in a vending machine or kitchen to vegan friendly options, tasking employees with creating vegan friendly meals or bakes after work and scheduling weekly meetings to allow employees to share their successes, challenges and results.
If you need baking ideas, we’ve got a list of the best vegan and gluten free bakes right here!
It’s vitally important for all employees to feel heard and included, and it’s likely that by hosting vegan friendly events, peers will be more naturally considerate of those with different diet requirements going forward.
Need a vegan catering service?
At The Goodness Project we deliver delicious healthy vegan snacks and fruit boxes to offices across the UK. What’s more, each one of our Goodness Project Office snack boxes is expertly designed by a nutritionist and filled with a range of snacks, from flapjacks to popcorn to nut mixes, all from leading brands.
So whether you’re a startup or one of the big boys, we want you to think about your team and how you treat them. Make sure you’re keeping them fuelled as best you can. Our boxes will provide proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Helping to keep your team fuller for longer, and reducing sugar cravings. Helping them stay productive, not hangry.
To see our offerings or sign up for a trial package, click here.
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